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Only five percent of U.S. corn planted as of April 28
 
Corn planting is falling far behind average. As of April 28, 5 percent of corn acres were planted compared to 49 percent a year ago and a five-year average of 31 percent planted by April 28. Delayed planting is boosting corn prices, especially for the nearby contracts. Delayed planting means delayed harvest, which could cause very tight corn supplies in late summer, given last year’s short crop. May corn futures gained 56 cents this week to end at $6.995 per bushel. December corn settled at $5.535 per bushel, up 11 cents for the week.

May soybean meal futures ended the week at $417.80 per ton, down 10 cents for the week. December meal settled at $345.20 per ton.

Spring rains have improved moisture conditions for most of the country east of Kansas City. But, the high plains, from Texas to North Dakota, are still short on soil moisture.

Friday morning’s (May 3) pork cutout calculation based on mandatory price reporting was $87.84 per cwt., FOB plants, up 69 cents from the week before. Loin, ham, and butt prices were higher last week, bellies lower.

The national average negotiated carcass price for direct delivered hogs on the morning report Friday (May 3) was $84.56 per cwt., up $6.18 from the previous Friday and up $10.36 from two weeks prior. The Eastern Corn Belt averaged $84.34 per cwt., Friday (May 3) morning. The Western Corn Belt averaged $86.64 per cwt. Iowa-Minnesota did not have enough early day sales for a morning price report. Peoria, Ill., had a top live price Friday (May 3) morning of $56 per cwt. Zumbrota, Minn., topped at $58 per cwt. The top for interior Missouri live hogs Friday was $60.75 per cwt., up $3 from the previous Friday. The average hog carcass price is 96.3 percent of the calculated pork cutout value based on mandatory reporting.

On average, hog prices increase more in May than in any other
month. The key to higher hog prices is higher cutout value.
Hog slaughter last week totaled 2.098 million head, down 2.3 percent from the week before, but up 0.9 percent compared to the same week last year.

The average barrow and gilt live weight in Iowa-Minnesota last week was 278 pounds, up 0.9 pound from a week earlier and up 1.9 pounds from a year ago. Last summer was miserably hot. 
Hogs don’t grow well when they are hot. This spring is on track to be one of the coolest on record. If the cool weather persists, hog weights are likely to stay above year-ago, adding to pork tonnage.
The May lean hog futures contract closed at $91.40 per cwt., Friday (May 3), up $2.05 from the previous week. June hog futures ended the week 35 cents lower at $92.17 per cwt. July hogs settled at $92.30 per cwt., and August at $91.50 per cwt.

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 Ron Plain or Scott Brown may write to them in care of this publication.
5/9/2013