Hog slaughter continues to run higher than expected. It’s difficult to determine how much overrun there has been since June 1, because of labor problems in the packing industry in Canada, say Glenn Grimes and Ron Plain, University of Missouri agricultural economists. However, the odds are high that fewer slaughter hogs are coming to the United States from Canada than last year. For January- April, slaughter, slaughter hog imports from Canada are down nearly 23 percent this year compared to the same period in 2002, say the economists.

Based on the June market inventories, Grimes and Plain expected about 2 percent less hogs now than a year earlier. But for the week of July 18, slaughter was estimated to be 1.8 million head, up 0.8 percent from the same week last year.

Current slaughter would support a larger pig crop in December-February this year than earlier believed. The June Hogs and Pigs report shows a pig crop for those three months down 1.7 percent from 12 months earlier.

Slaughter since the first of June has been down less than one percent compared to last year. Even with the labor problems in the packing industry in Canada, the probabilities are high that we have received less live slaughter hogs from Canada during these eight weeks than in 2002, says Grimes and Plain.

The economists still expect slaughter in late August and September to run below last year because of the relatively large number of hogs pulled forward as to marketing time last year during that period. The economists expect June to be the high month for live hog prices for 2003.