USDA AMS Raises Average US Hog Dressed Weight

US - USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service published their weekly Actual Slaughter Under Federal Inspection report, which is data compiled by USDA-NASS from the USDA-FSIS (the agency that processors are required to report slaughter related data to), writes the Steiner Consulting Group.
calendar icon 28 December 2016
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Those data were for the week ending December 10th (Market News code SJ LS711) and gave much more detail than the preliminary report. The preliminary report is usually issued each week on Fridays. In the preliminary report, weights are a multi-week moving average, so seasonal turning points are missed and revisions are often required.

The overall Federally Inspected (FI) cattle weight was revised lower for the week ending December 10th, while the average hog weight was revised up one pound from the preliminary estimate.

Further, looking behind the averages can sometimes be insightful.

For cattle, the preliminary dressed (carcass) weight was revised from 845 pounds down to 838, which put the average carcass down 5 pounds week-over-week and dropping 3 pounds compared to a year earlier. Steer weight for the week of December 10th dropped by 5 pounds for the week and was a modest 1 pound below 2015’s. For heifers, weights also declined compared to the prior week and a year ago by 5 and 4 pounds, respectively.

Since the last weekly actual data, winter-like weather has likely continued to pull-down weights of steers and heifers being harvested. The preliminary data for last week (reported last Friday for the week ending December 17th) all cattle weighed an average of 845 pounds and is expected to be
revised down, too. Looking ahead to early 2017, a major factor that seasonally dampens carcass weight is weather. If winter is more severe than normal in major cattle feeding states, carcass
weights can drop much more than seasonally, hence reducing beef production.

As indicated above, the preliminary average hog dressed weight was raised from 211 to 212 pounds, the actual number was unchanged week-over-week, but down 2 pounds from 2015’s. Looking behind those averages is useful.

Barrows and gilts harvested the week ending December 10th weighed 209 pounds, dropping by 1 pound from the prior week and by 2 pounds year-over-year. Harvested sows also are included in the
average hog dressed weight. The average FI sow carcass weight was 315 pounds, the heaviest for any week since June 2015. Significance of heavier sows being slaughtered for one week should not be overestimated but still is bears monitoring.

Several more weeks of heavy sow weights may imply breeding herd turnover (replacing sows with gilts) and some related conclusions regarding producer plans and could slightly impact pigs per litter.

The long-term trend in both cattle and hogs is heavier weights. Especially for cattle, many factors influence dressed weight (weather, weight/age when entering feedlots, corn cost, etc.). However, both fed cattle and barrows and gilts were pulled or pushed ahead into the markets during recent months compared to what happened last year and weights tend to confirm that.

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