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Last week’s cooler weather helped rates of gain for hogs
Hog Outlook
Glenn Grimes & Ron Plain
University of Missouri - Columbia

Our preliminary estimate of the September 1 hog breeding herd shows a 1 percent growth from a year earlier. Sow slaughter for June-August was up more than 5 percent from last year, but quite consistent with 2002, 2003 and 2004 for these months.

This is a quite slow growth for the industry with the profits of the past three years. The industry certainly has changed and producers appear to be showing more discipline than expected.

Hog marketing for June-August have been about 1 percent larger than we expected based on the June market inventories. If this overrun of 1 percent continues for the fourth quarter, we will have a commercial slaughter of about 28 million head, which would be a new record high for the fourth quarter.

Even with a 28 million head slaughter there is little concern about slaughter capacity to handle this number unless we lose a plant to fire, etc.

Slaughter under Federal Inspection set a new record high for a day this week at 416,000 head on Tuesday based on preliminary data. Total Federal Inspected daily slaughter capacity is now believed to be above 420,000 head and will be near 426,000 head when Triumph Foods at St. Joseph, Mo., gets up to full speed on both shifts.

The cooler temperatures during the last several days have contributed to good rates of gain for hogs. For the week ending September 2, barrow and gilt average live weights were up 1 pound per head from a week earlier at 261.6 pounds per head. These weights this year were 0.8 pound above a year earlier. Hog weights are expected to continue to increase into January of 2007 with weights by that time in the low to mid 270 pounds per head.

Pork product prices are holding up well with the last two full weeks of slaughter above 2 million head under Federal In-spection. The largest slaughter day of record was this week at 416,000 head under Federal Inspection. Pork product value per cwt. of carcass at $75.06 per cwt. for Thursday afternoon was up $0.31 per cwt. from a week earlier.

Loin prices for Thursday afternoon at $83.67 per cwt. down $1.94 per cwt. from seven days earlier, Boston butts were down $0.40 per cwt. at $76.49 per cwt., hams at $75.53 per cwt. were up $4.27 per cwt. and belly prices were up $0.48 per cwt. at $98.86 per cwt.

Top cash live hog prices Friday morning were $1 lower to $2.50 per cwt. higher compared to a week earlier. Hog prices were substantially stronger in the west this week than in the east. Weighted average negotiated carcass prices Friday morning were down $1.58 to up $0.40 per cwt. compared to a week earlier.

The top live price for select markets Friday morning were: Peoria $45 per cwt., St. Paul $48.50 per cwt., Sioux Falls $50 per cwt. and interior Missouri $48.25. Weighted average carcass prices Friday morning by geographic areas were: western Corn Belt $67.43 per cwt., eastern Corn Belt $65.94 per cwt., Iowa-Minnesota $67.70 per cwt. and nation $66 per cwt.

Slaughter this week under Federal Inspection was estimated at 1,884,000 head, up 2.4 percent from a year earlier.

This farm news was published in the Sept. 13, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.