Anyone following the U.S. slaughter hog market these past few weeks knows that weekly pig numbers are already growing. Weekly kills of 2.2 million are upon us already, and we have several months before the greatest crunch hits around the Thanksgiving shortened week.
In the past weeks, I’ve commented that based on slaughter weights, producers haven’t been aggressive in pulling pigs forward. I’ve got to change my tune this week. For the first time since October, 2014, packer owned pigs were the same weight as producer sold pigs on Aug. 5 and Aug. 8.
Is this a suggestion that packers who own pigs (or producers who own packing plants) are setting up their inventories to be able to kill all of the pigs in their flows this fall?
For the first four days of last week, the average carcass weight of all pigs in the USDA LM_HG201 report have averaged only 206.9. This compares to the week average weights of 208.4, 208.0 and 208.0 the past 3 weeks. With only Friday and Saturday kills to fill out the week, this week will end up as the lowest of the year.
How much of the decline this week is producers pulling pigs ahead in light of the anticipated fall crunch and the rapidly dropping carcass bids and how much is due to the heat impacting feed intake this week?
Minneapolis had a heat index above 100 on Wednesday so pigs in southern Minnesota weren’t eating much feed as the nights have remained quite warm also.