U.S. lhog prices will likely dip lower this fall– as is the seasonal trend. But they should stay 10 percent to 15 percent above hog prices posted last fall, says James Mintert, Kansas State University agricultural economist.

"This time last year hog prices collapsed as hog slaughter surged," the research and Extension specialist notes. "A repeat of last year is not in the cards this fall, because hog slaughter is not likely to ratchet up to the same levels as it did in 2002."

Cash hog values (carcass basis) from early July through mid-August averaged $59 per hundredweight. That's up 12 percent from a year ago. The year-to-year price increase occurred despite the fact that summer hog slaughter and pork production (through mid-August) were larger than for the same period in 2002.

Mintert expects carcass-based hog prices to average in the low $50s per hundredweight after Labor Day, and then to slip into the high $40s this fall as the spring pig crop becomes market ready.

"How low prices go will largely depend on how large hog slaughter is this fall," says Mintert.

A continuation of the early and mid-summer slaughter patterns imply that fall slaughter may be 1 percent below the numbers recorded last fall, and that prices will average near the low end of the projected range (high $40s).

Kansas State University