The data continues to be mixed as to how current marketing of hogs are, say Glenn Grimes and Ron Plain, University of Missouri agricultural economists.

The average weight of barrows and gilts in Iowa-Minnesota were only 0.1 pounds heavier for the week ending Oct. 2, than a year earlier. However, the average carcass weight for barrows and gilts under Federal Inspection for the week ending Sept. 25 was still 2 pounds per hundredweight heavier than the same week in 2003.

The Missouri economists hope that some of the overrun in hog slaughter during the last several weeks has been due to marketings being pulled forward. However, the probabilities may not be very good for this to be the case.

Slaughter for the week ending Oct. 2 was only up 0.9 percent from a year earlier based on preliminary data and last week’s slaughter was down 3.3 percent from a year earlier at 2.005 million head. But the major reason for this decline in slaughter relative to a year ago may be due more to packers reducing their kill in an effort to improve margins rather than the supply of hogs available. Trade reports are that the supply of market ready hogs is larger than indicated, especially by this kill rate.

Now is not a good time to delay marketings for the industry is already close to slaughter capacity with slaughter levels of the last several weeks, say Grimes and Plain.

Even though there have been lower prices for live hogs during the last two weeks there is still no data indicating the demand has weakened for pork.