USDA’s August World Agricultural Supplies Demand Estimate report lowered their estimate of 2013 pork production by a slight 16 million pounds (0.068 percent) and raised their forecast of the annual average hog price by $1 per cwt. They made no changes to their forecasts for 2014 pork production or hog price. Total red meat and poultry production is forecast to be up 0.4 percent this year and up an additional 0.8 percent in 2014.
This week USDA-FSA estimated prevented planting acres at 3.4 million. That was more than expected causing a modest rally in grain futures. The December corn futures contract ended the week at $4.635 per bushel, up a dime over the previous Friday.
Crop growing conditions remain good. As of Aug. 11, 64 percent of corn acres were rated in good or excellent condition. That is unchanged from the week before and up 41 percentage points from a year ago. A major concern for this year’s crop is an early frost. This is especially true for soybeans.
Testing data from the National Animal Health Laboratory Network says that as of Aug. 4, the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus has been confirmed on 461 farms in 17 states. This is an increase of 27 farms and 1 state (Wisconsin) from the week before. The National Pork Board has committed $800,000 toward researching and understanding the disease.
The national average negotiated carcass price for direct delivered hogs on the morning report last Friday was $95.91 per cwt., down 97 cents from Friday, Aug. 9. The Eastern Corn Belt averaged $96.01 per cwt., Friday morning. Both the Western Corn Belt and Iowa-Minnesota had an early morning average of $94.21 per cwt. Peoria, Ill., had a top live price Friday morning of $66 per cwt. Zumbrota, Minn., topped out at $70 per cwt. The top for interior Missouri live hogs Friday was $70.25 per cwt., up 50 cents from the previous Friday.
Friday morning’s (Aug. 16) pork cutout value based on mandatory price reporting was $102.91 per cwt., FOB plants, down $2.96 from the week before, but up $12.08 from a year ago. Loin, ham, and belly prices were all lower this week. The average hog carcass price is 93.2 percent of the calculated pork cutout value.
Hog slaughter last week totaled 2.177 million head, up 7.8 percent from the week before and up 0.05 percent (1,000 head) compared to the same week last year. The average barrow and gilt live weight in Iowa-Minnesota last week was 271.6 pounds, unchanged from a week earlier and up 5.6 pounds from a year ago.
The October lean hog futures contract settled at $86.72 per cwt., Friday, up $1.76 from the previous Friday. December hog futures ended last week at $83.45 per cwt., up $1.40 from the week before. February hogs closed the week at $85.47 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.