November pork exports equaled 22.5 percent of U.S. pork production for the month while pork imports equaled 3.4 percent of production.
Through November, U.S. pork exports were up 5.6 percent compared to the first 11 months of 2011 and pork imports were down a tiny fraction. The big growth markets for U.S. pork exports in 2012 were Mexico, Russia and Canada. U.S. pork exports were record high in 2011. When the December numbers come in, 2012 exports are expected to be 5 percent above the 2011 record.
The average retail price of pork in December was $3.427 per pound. That was down 5.1 cents from November and down 3.4 cents from December 2011. The average retail pork price for all of 2012 was $3.467 per pound, 3.3 cents above the 2011 record.
The average live price for 51-52 percent lean hogs in December was $59.16 per cwt., up $1.49 from November, but down $2.98 compared to December 2011. The average live price for the year was $61.12 per cwt. That is the second highest yearly average, down $5.01 from the 2011 record.
Pork packer gross margin (value of product sold minus cost of a market hog) averaged $21.59 per head in 2012. That was $7.72 under 2011’s average and $10.13 lower than in 2010, but 11 cents higher than in 2009.
The national average negotiated carcass price for direct delivered hogs on the morning report today was $80.35 per cwt., up 73 cents from last Friday. The Eastern Corn Belt was 79 cents higher than last Friday at $79.84 per cwt. Neither the Western Corn Belt nor Iowa-Minnesota had enough early morning sales for a price quote today (as of Jan. 18). Peoria, Ill., had a live top of $55 per cwt., on Friday. Zumbrota, Minn., had a top today of $56 per cwt. The top for interior Missouri live hogs Friday was $58.50 per cwt., up $1.50 from the previous Friday.
Thursday afternoon’s calculated pork cutout value was $83.88 per cwt., up 41 cents from the previous Thursday. Loins were $2.33 per cwt., higher while hams, butts and belly prices were little changed. The pork cutout value is 89 cents per cwt., lower than a year ago. The national average hog carcass price this morning is 95.8 percent of the cutout value.
Hog slaughter this week totaled 2.227 million head, down 2.5 percent from last week and up 0.5 percent compared to the same week last year.
The average barrow and gilt live weight in Iowa-Minnesota last week was 276.5 pounds, up 0.2 pound from a week earlier and up 0.1 pound from a year ago. This was the first week with heavier weights since the week ending on Sept. 22, 2012.
Friday’s close for the February lean hog futures contract was $85.35 per cwt., up $1.15 from the previous Friday. April hog futures ended the week 95 cents higher at $88.07 per cwt. May hogs settled at $94.70 per cwt.; June hogs at $96.85 per cwt.
Cattle futures were sharply lower this week in response to Cargill’s announcement that they were closing their Plainview, Texas slaughter plant.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the authors 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.