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Hog slaughter fluctuation still affected by weather
Hog Outlook
Glenn Grimes & Ron Plain
University of Missouri - Columbia

Based on the available data, about one-third of the quarterly fluctuation in hog slaughter is a result of the size of the pig crop. The other two-thirds is due to death loss and rates of gain.

For example, the fourth quarter pig crop in 2003 was 3.3 percent smaller than the second quarter pig crop in 2004. However, the second quarter slaughter was 9.1 percent smaller than the fourth quarter 2004.

For the 2005 slaughter, the fourth quarter pig crop in 2004 was 2.9 percent smaller than the second quarter 2005. Here again, the fourth quarter 2005 slaughter was 9.3 percent larger than the second quarter slaughter.

Even though modern hog facilities can and do control the environment for the hogs, hot weather in late summer contributes to conception problems. Producers over-breed to compensate for this problem but the pig crop in the second quarter is still 3 percent or so larger than the preceding fourth quarter crop.

The remainder of the fluctuation in hog slaughter by quarter is apparently brought about by the influence of hot and cold weather on death loss and rates of gain.

During the summer, rates of gain are slowed by heat and marketings are reduced. As we move through fall, rates of gain increase and marketings are sped up. This seems the most likely reason, along with a little larger pig crop in the second quarter that makes the fourth quarter slaughter the largest of the year.

May sets record high meat production. Beef production was up 11 percent, lamb and mutton up 10 percent, pork production up 7 percent, broiler production up 5 percent, and turkey production up 2 percent. The good news is that meat production in the last half of 2006 may be no larger than 12 months earlier.

Cash hog prices this Friday morning were steady to $4 per cwt. lower compared to a week earlier. Average weighted carcass prices were $2.14 to $2.83 per cwt. lower compared to seven days earlier.

The top live hog prices for selected markets this Friday morning were: Peoria $43.50 per cwt., St. Paul $46 per cwt.; and interior Missouri $48.25 per cwt.

The weighted average carcass prices by areas were: western Corn Belt $67.25 per cwt., eastern Corn Belt $68.33 per cwt.; Iowa-Minnesota $67.44 per cwt., and nation $67.11 per cwt.

Pork cutout values for Thursday afternoon were down $0.40 per cwt. from a week earlier at $75.96 per cwt. Loin prices Thursday afternoon at $90.26 per pound, down $3.19 per cwt., Boston butts were down $2.34 per cwt. at $74.84 per cwt., hams at $67.18 per cwt., up $4.07 per cwt., and bellies were up $0.04 per cwt. at $105.15 per cwt. for the week on Thursday afternoon.

Slaughter this week under Federal Inspection was estimated at 1,954,000 head, up 4.5 percent from a year earlier.

Readers with questions or comments for the authors may write to them in care of this publication: P.O. Box 90, Knightstown, IN 46148. This farm news was published in the July 19, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.

7/19/2006