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Good week for hog prices

by 5m Editor
26 April 2003, at 12:00am

US - US Weekly Hog Outlook, 25th April 2003 - Weekly review of the US hog industry, written by Glen Grimes and Ron Plain.

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Demand for pork at the consumer level for January-March shows about a 2% decline from the same period in 2002. Beef was the only class of meat that showed growth for this period. Broiler demand was down about 2.5% and turkey demand was down about 0.1% from last year.

Demand for live hogs was down about 1.7% for January - March based on preliminary data. All of the decline in pork demand at the consumer level was due to inflation or maybe a more accurate way to express this is that pork did not get all of the inflation bid into retail prices.

We believe that the odds are high for the demand for live hogs to show growth for the year compared to 2002.

Retail pork prices for March were down 3.1% from March a year earlier and retail prices for January - March were down 3.7% from 2002

Marketing margins for pork for January - March this year were down 1% from a year earlier.

Total pork consumption per capita is estimated to be up 2.3% for January - March. However, pork production was up 1% less than the increase in domestic use of pork. The increase in total consumption of about 3.3% was made possible by larger growth in pork imports than pork exports and using more product out of stocks for these 3 months than in 2002.

Cold storage stocks of pork at the end of March were up 1% from the end of February this year but down 1.3 % from 12 months earlier.

Belly stocks were up 11% on March 31 from February 28 but were down 30% from March 31 of 2002. The demand for bacon is one of the positive factors for pork demand.

Only turkey stocks on March 31 were above a year earlier. Beef stocks were down 9% and chicken stocks were down 4% from last year. Turkey stocks were up 14% from 2002 at the end of March.

Total meat consumption for January - March this year in the US was up 2% from 12 months earlier based on preliminary data in carcass weight.

This has been a very good week for hog prices; top live prices this Friday morning were up $3.00 to $6.50 from 7 days earlier. Top prices for select markets on Friday were: Peoria $37.50, St. Paul$38.50, Sioux Falls $39.50 and Interior Missouri $35.50.

If we do continue to have hog slaughter relevant to last year hold the level of this week through coming weeks, hog prices are likely to be steady to higher into summer. We are concerned that a significant portion of this week's slaughter decline was due to the small Monday slaughter because of Easter. Also, for some reason slaughter for this week last year was the second largest weekly slaughter for the spring.

Federally estimated slaughter for this week was estimated at 1869 thousand head---down 2.4% from last year.

Slaughter for this week is estimated to be equal to the level slaughter was for the next 5 weeks last year.

The growth in average carcass weight for the first 3 months was only 1 pound or about 0.5%. However, we expect more growth in carcass weights for the last half of the year unless we have a short feed grain crop.

Average carcass prices for 185 pound carcass with 0.9-1.1" back fat, 6 square inch loin 2 inches deep by area this Friday morning were: western Cornbelt $52.52, eastern Cornbelt $49.61, Iowa - Minnesota $52.78 and nation $51.28.

5m Editor