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March Pork Exports Higher than a Year Ago

by 5m Editor
16 May 2011, at 7:47am

US - Pork exports during March totalled 490.662 million pounds, up 32.5 per cent compared to a year earlier and the largest monthly total ever, writes Ron Plain.

Pork imports during March totalled 76.826 million pounds, up 9.3 per cent from 12 months earlier. During March, 23.9 per cent of US pork production was exported while pork imports equalled 3.7 per cent of production.

Beef exports during March were the second largest ever. The weakness of the dollar is contributing to these huge meat export levels.

Pork exports during the first quarter of 2011 were up 19.2 per cent compared to last year and were the largest for any January-March quarter. The big export growth markets this year are South Korea, China and Japan. First quarter pork imports were up 1.0 per cent compared to last year. Feeder pig imports from Canada were up 1.4 per cent during the first quarter of 2011. Slaughter hog imports were down 4.1 per cent.

The national average negotiated carcass price for direct delivered hogs on the morning report today was $89.38/cwt, up $1.80 from last Friday. The eastern corn belt average this morning was $88.50/cwt while the western corn belt average was $91.06/cwt. Iowa-Minnesota hogs averaged $91.10/cwt on the morning report. Friday’s top live hog price at Peoria was $62.50/cwt. Zumbrota’s top was $62/cwt. The top for interior Missouri hogs was $63/cwt, the same as the previous Friday.

The pork cut-out value rebounded this week following three weeks of decline. USDA’s Thursday afternoon calculated pork cut-out value was $95.00/cwt, up $4.53 from the previous Thursday. Hams, loins, butts, and bellies were all higher. The national average hog carcass price on Friday was 94 per cent of the pork cut-out value. That is higher than normal, but not as tight as the last couple of weeks.

Hog slaughter totalled 1.978 million head this week, down 0.6 per cent from the week before, but up 1.0 per cent compared to the same week last year. Hog slaughter since 1 March is within 0.5 per cent of that implied by USDA’s March Hogs and Pigs Report.

Barrow and gilt carcass weights for the last week of April averaged 205 pounds, three pounds heavier than a year ago. Iowa-Minnesota live weights for barrows and gilts last week averaged 271.7 pounds, down 1.6 pounds from the week before, but up 1.6 pounds compared to the same week last year.

The May lean hog futures contract ended last week at $92.85 per cwt, down 50 cents from the previous Friday. The June contract settled Friday at $94.55 per cwt, up $2.18 for the week. July hogs settled at $93.85 and August hogs ended at $94.47 per cwt.

USDA’s latest crop progress report estimates 40 per cent of the corn acres were planted by 8 May, down from 80 per cent planted on that date last year and a five-year average of 59 per cent planted.

The May corn futures contract lost four US cents last week to end at $6.79 per bushel. December corn ended the week at $6.27 per bushel.