USDA’s July production forecast has 2014 pork production at 24.135 billion pounds. They predict 2014 beef production to be 24.105 billion pounds. The last year that U.S. pork production exceeded beef production was 1952.
Domestic pork demand in May was up 1 percent compared to a year ago by my calculations. After ten consecutive down months, export demand for U.S. pork was up 1.3 percent in May. Overall consumer meat demand was 0.9 percent stronger this May than last.
Both hog prices and retail pork prices in June were the second highest ever. Retail prices for pork in June averaged $3.551 per pound. That was up 6.1 cents from the average for May, up 15.4 cents from a year ago, and a penny under the $3.561 per pound record set in September 2011. The average live price for 51-52 percent lean hogs during June was $72.65 per cwt. That was up $6.62 from May, up $4.78 from June 2012, and $3.44 under the record set in August 2011.
As of July 15, 66 percent of corn acres were rated in good or excellent condition. That is down 2 percentage points from the week before, but up 35 points from a year ago. Corn prices are expected to plummet as we approach harvest.
The September corn contract ended the week at $5.44 per bushel and December corn settled at $5.01. September soybean meal futures ended the week at $423.70 per ton. December meal settled at $382.50 per ton.
The national average negotiated carcass price for direct delivered hogs on the morning report today was $94.22 per cwt., down $1.29 from last Friday. The Eastern Corn Belt averaged $92.79 per cwt ., Friday (July 19) morning. Both the Western Corn Belt and Iowa-Minnesota had a morning average of $97.64 per cwt. Peoria, Ill., had a top live price this morning of $64 per cwt. Zumbrota, Minn., topped out at $66 per cwt. The top for interior Missouri live hogs Friday was $69 per cwt., down $3 from the previous Friday.
Friday morning’s (July 19) pork cutout value based on mandatory price reporting was $99.79 per cwt., FOB plants, down $3.21 from the week before, but up $8.59 from a year ago. Loins, hams and bellies were all lower this week. The average hog carcass price is 94.4 percent of the calculated pork cutout value.
Hog slaughter this week totaled 2.007 million head, down 1.5 percent from the week before, but up 2.3 percent compared to the same week last year. Since June 1, barrow and gilt slaughter has been roughly 0.5 percent above what was expected based on the June inventory report.
The average barrow and gilt live weight in Iowa-Minnesota last week was 272.0 pounds, down 0.9 pound from a week earlier, but up 3.5 pounds from a year ago.
The August lean hog futures contract closed at $96.47 per cwt., Friday, July 19, up $1.57 from the previous Friday. October hog futures ended the week at $84.97 per cwt., up 77 cents from the week before. December hogs closed the week at $82.22 per cwt., up 87 cents from the previous Friday.
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.