USDA will release the results of their next quarterly hog survey this Friday, with the results determining the future of U.S. hog prices.

Ron Plain and Glenn Grimes, University of Missouri agricultural economists project the breeding herd on March 1 to be at 96 percent of March 1, 2002 levels. The economists expect the market hog inventory to be 1 percent below March 2002 levels.

Hog slaughter should remain at or above 2002 levels for another month then dropping to below 2002 levels for the remainder of the year, say Grimes and Plain.

The economist say hog prices should rally back above breakeven levels by May and stay in the low $40 per hundredweight liveweight until late summer. Grimes and Plain don’t think the cutback in the breeding herd has been larger enough to prevent fall hog prices from dropping back below breakevens.