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Hog Outlook: Pork exports slowing, still up from year ago numbers
Hog Outlook
By Glenn Grimes & Ron Plain
University of Missouri - Columbia

Pork exports have slowed from the spectacular rate of the first half of the year but were still 12 percent above 12 months earlier in November.

For the year through November pork exports were up 22.4 percent. Pork exports for January through November were 11.1 percent above the record high for all of 2004.

Our pork exports for the first 11 months of the year were up 15.1 percent to Japan, up 29.9 percent to Canada, down 0.4 percent to Mexico, up 43.6 percent to Russia, up 190.6 percent to South Korea, down 37.8 percent to Hong Kong, up 41.7 percent to mainline China - pork exports to Hong Kong and mainline China combined were up 19.3 percent - down 39 percent to Taiwan, up 62.2 percent to the Caribbean and up 113.3 percent to other.

Pork imports by the United States for January through November were down 8.3 percent from a year earlier. Net pork exports as a percent of production increased from 5.2 percent in the first 11 months of 2004 to 8.0 percent of production for the same months of 2005.

Live hog imports in November from Canada were down 4.5 percent from 12 months earlier. Feeder pig imports for the month were up 0.9 percent but slaughter imports for November were down 13.3 percent from a year earlier.

For January through November live hog imports from Canada were down 4.8 percent, feeder pig imports were down 5.4 percent and slaughter imports were down 3.6 percent.

December retail pork prices were up 0.6 percent from November but the same as December 2004. For the year of 2005 retail pork prices were up 1.3 percent from 12 months earlier.

The marketing tools some of what gave away in 2004 were back in 2005. All segments of the marketing system had higher margins in 2005 than 2004 with the total marketing bill up 4.1 percent.

The marketers received all of the increase in retail price plus some. The prices of live hogs in 2005 were 4.7 percent below 2004. However, 51 to 52 percent of lean hogs in 2005 still averaged a little over $50 per cwt. live - a price that most if not all producers would likely be glad to receive for the foreseeable future with current costs of production.

Live hog weights for barrows and gilts for the week of January 14 were down from the record 273.8 pounds live a week earlier in Iowa -Minnesota but the 2nd highest of record at 272.2 pounds. Average barrow and gilt carcass weight at 202 pounds under Federal Inspection was a new record high for the week ending January 7, 2006.

The cash hog market came under strong downward pressure in early weeks but recovered some or all of the early weeks loss by Friday.

Live cash hog prices Friday were $1.50 higher than a week earlier. The top live prices Friday morning at select markets were: Peoria $36.50 per cwt., St. Paul $40 per cwt., Sioux Falls $40.50 per cwt. and interior Missouri $38.75 per cwt.

The average weighted base carcass prices Friday morning were $2.93 lower to $4.15 higher compared to a week earlier. These prices for Friday morning by geographic area were: western Corn Belt $55.66 per cwt., eastern Corn Belt $51.40 per cwt., Iowa-Minnesota $55.71 per cwt. and nation $53.28 per cwt.

Slaughter this week under Federal Inspection was estimated at 2,107,000 head - up 5.7 percent from a year earlier.

Cash feeder pig prices this week at United Producers tel-o-auction were up to $25 per cwt. below two weeks earlier. The united prices by weighted groups were 40-50 lbs. $104.50 per cwt., 50-60 lbs. $119 per cwt., and 60-70 lbs. $110 per cwt.

Published in the January 25, 2006 issue of Farm World.