Hog Outlook: Retail pork prices at record high

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Retail pork prices were record high in April for the second consecutive month. Last month the average price of pork in grocery stores averaged $3.95 per pound. That was 2 cents higher than in March and 44.3 cents higher than a year ago. Retail pork chop prices in April were the highest ever; bacon prices the second highest for any month.

April hog prices were also record high for the second month in a row. The average live weight price for 51-52 percent lean hogs during April was $89.09/cwt, up $5.27 from the month before and up $31.38 from a year ago. The average negotiated carcass price for hogs during April was $117.83/cwt, up $2.36 from the month before and up $39.98 from April 2013.

Cash hog prices this week were lower for the sixth consecutive week. The national average negotiated carcass price for direct delivered hogs on the morning report today was $106.41/cwt, down 70 cents from last Friday, but up $16.04 from a year ago. There was no eastern corn belt or Iowa-Minnesota reported price this morning. The western corn belt averaged $108.95/cwt this morning. Peoria had a top live price today of $74/cwt. Zumbrota, MN topped at $75. The top price Friday for interior Missouri live hogs was $75/cwt which was up 75 cents from the previous Friday.

Friday morning's pork cutout value was $112.78/cwt FOB the plants, up 43 cents from the week before and up $20.17 from a year ago. This morning's hog carcass price averaged 94.4 percent of the cutout value.

Hog slaughter this week totaled 1.999 million head, down 0.8 percent from the week before and down 1.9 percent compared to last year.

After setting record highs for six consecutive weeks, Iowa-Minnesota slaughter weights were down for the second week in a row. The average live slaughter weight of barrows and gilts in Iowa-Minnesota last week, 286.6 pounds, was down 0.4 pounds from a week earlier, but up 9.8 pounds from a year ago. Heavy weights are offsetting most of the decline in pork production caused by PEDV driven death loss. Year-to-date hog slaughter is down 4.1 percent, but year-to-date pork production is only down 0.8 percent.

The June lean hog futures contract today closed at $118.92/cwt, down $1.25 for the week. July hog futures ended the week at $125.25/cwt, up 70 cents from the week before. August hogs gained $3.10 this week to close at $125.60/cwt. The October contract ended the week at $106.10/cwt; December at $93.77/cwt.

Corn planting progressed rapidly in early May. This week's USDA Crop Progress report says that 59 percent of corn acres were planted by May 11. That was an amazing 30 points ahead of the week before, 33 points ahead of last year, and 1 point ahead the 5 year average.

Corn futures were sharply lower this week. The July contract lost 24 cents this week to close at $4.835. The September contract ended the week at $4.81, down 21 cents from the previous Friday.



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