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Slaughter up, following March 1-2 storm delay

Hog Outlook <br> Glenn Grimes and Ron Plain <br>University of Missouir-Columbia<br>

Our estimate of the March 1 Hogs and Pigs report is for all hogs and pigs to be up 2.2 percent, breeding herd same as in 2006 and market herd up 2.4 cent.

Hogs slaughtered through the first three full weeks of March are up 6-7 percent. Some of this increase was due to the Midwest snow storm in early March that disrupted slaughter on March 1-2.
Slaughter in March is running some above expectations, based on the December market inventories, even after adjusting for the smaller slaughter due to weather the first two days in March.

Retail pork prices for January and February were 0.7 percent higher than in 2006. Pork marketing margins for the first two months of 2007 were down 2.4 percent from a year earlier.

The smaller marketing margin and the increase in retail prices permitted packers to pay 9.6 percent more for barrows and gilts for the first two months of 2007, than in 2006.

The demand for live hogs continues to run some above 12 months earlier. For December, January and February, live-hog demand was up 1.3 percent from the same months last year.

Average barrow and gilt weights in Iowa-Minnesota climbed above year-earlier levels by 0.1 pound per head, following 24 weeks with weights below 12 months earlier. At least a portion of the increase in weights is probably due to the delay in marketings in early March because of the snow storm.

With the big slaughter again this week, hog prices came under additional downward pressure, but did not collapse completely.

Live top hog prices Friday morning were 75 cents lower to $1.00 per cwt. Higher, compared to seven days earlier. The weighted average negotiated carcass prices Friday morning were $1.06 to $1.35 per cwt. lower, compared to a week earlier.

The top live prices for select markets Friday morning were: Peoria $39 per cwt., St. Paul $40 per cwt., Sioux Falls was unavailable and interior Missouri $41 per cwt. The weighted average negotiated carcass price by area were: western Cornbelt $57.64 per cwt, eastern Cornbelt $56.26 per cwt, Iowa-Minnesota $57.68 per cwt and nation $57.06 per cwt.

Pork cut-out value per cwt. of carcass through Thursday was down $1.56 per cwt. from a week earlier. Loin prices at $75.27 per cwt. were down $4.52 per cwt., Boston butts were up 12 cents per cwt. at $73.24 per cwt., hams at $50.20 per cwt. were up 53 cents per cwt. and bellies were down $3.95 per cwt. at $91.38 per cwt.

Slaughter this week under Federal Inspection was estimated at 2.117 million head, up 8.3 percent from a year earlier.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of Farm World. Readers with questions or comments for the authors may write to them in care of this publication.

This farm news was published in the March 28, 2007 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.