Hog prices have turned upward after dropping every day during the first two weeks of April. Hog prices dropped unexpectedly from $36 per hundredweight on March 10 to $26 per hundredweight on April 15, says Ron Plain, University of Missouri agricultural economist.

March 10 is the date Russia stopped importing U.S. chickens. “It’s pretty obviously a big part of the price downturn was from too much chicken in U.S. grocery stores,” says Plain. “The rebound in hog prices can be credited to the resumption of exporting chickens to Russia.”

At the end of the first trading week after the Russian ban was lifted, hog prices were up to $31 per hundredweight, says Plain. The summer peak should be about $44 per hundredweight, but will probably occur a little later than usual because of the seasonal rally’s low starting point, he says. The seasonal high for this year should occur in late June.

“Russia imports 8 percent of the total chickens and 15 percent of the leg quarters grown in the United States,” says Plain. “Last year, they bought 2.3 billion pounds of U.S. chicken. When they stopped buying for about a month that put a lot of extra chicken into U.S. grocery stores. When grocery store owners can get chicken for practically nothing, they will fill their meat cases with it instead of buying more expensive pork and beef.”