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Hog Prices End Lower than a Week Ago

by 5m Editor
7 May 2012, at 10:19am

US - Iowa State University calculations estimate the average breakeven live price for barrows and gilts in the first quarter of 2012 at $64.46/cwt, down $1.66 from the fourth quarter of 2011, but up $3.76 compared to January-March 2011, writes Ron Plain.

They estimate the average Iowa hog was sold at a profit of 55 cents in the first quarter.

USDA says 53 per cent of corn acreage had been planted by 29 April. That compares to an average of 27 per cent planted on that date, and 12 per cent planted on 29 April 2011. USDA has predicted that 2012 corn acreage will be the most since 1937. A big drop in cash corn prices is expected this fall. May corn futures ended the week at $6.62 per bushel. December corn futures ended the week $1.38 lower at $5.24 per bushel.

Hog prices ended this week lower than the previous Friday. The national average negotiated carcass price for direct delivered hogs on the morning report today was $75.37/cwt, down $3.77 from last Friday. The eastern corn belt averaged $74.81/cwt this morning. The western corn belt averaged $77.63/cwt. Iowa-Minnesota had an average price of $77.65 on the morning report. Peoria had a top today of $52.50 and Zumbrota a top of $52/cwt. The top for interior Missouri live hogs Friday was $56.50/cwt, down $2.25 from the previous Friday.

The pork cutout value was higher this week. USDA's Thursday afternoon calculated cutout value was $78.10/cwt, up $1.35 from the previous Thursday. Loins and hams were higher this week. Butts were lower. Wholesale pork belly prices moved up a bit after losing more than $19/cwt in the two previous weeks.

For most all of April, the national average hog carcass price was above the cutout value.

Hog slaughter totaled 2.069 million head this week, down 1.1 per cent from the week before, but up 4.0 per cent compared to the same week last year. Barrow and gilt carcass weights for the week ending 21 April averaged 206 pounds, unchanged from the week before and up one pound from a year ago. The average barrow and gilt live weight in Iowa-Minnesota last week was 276.1 pounds, down 0.8 pounds from a week earlier, up 2.8 pounds from a year ago, and above a year earlier for the 23rd consecutive week.

Since 1 March, the slaughter of US raised barrows and gilts is running nearly 1 per cent above the level predicted by the March inventory of market hogs. Year-to-date pork production is up 1.6 per cent.

It was a bad week for hog futures. Friday's close for the May lean hog futures contract was $79.80/cwt, down $5.70 from the previous Friday. The June lean hog futures contract settled at $83.72/cwt, down $2.88 for the week. July hogs ended the week at $85.35 and August settled at $86.10/cwt.