Demand for pork from January to October 2003 at the consumer level was down a little over 2 percent compared to 12 months earlier, say Glenn Grimes and Ron Plain, University of Missouri agricultural economists.

However, demand for live hogs for the same 10 months was up 2.4 percent from the same period in 2002.

In recent weeks pork production has been running about 5 percent above the same weeks last year and negotiated hog prices for the United States on Thursday morning were over $3.00 per hundredweight of carcass above a year earlier. These values suggest at the current time demand for live hogs is 5 percent to 7 percent above a year earlier say the economists. Grimes and Plain also believe that demand at the consumer level is currently above year ago levels.

The economists say pork is likely getting some demand assistance from the very high beef prices.

Pork loin and Boston butts prices were down last Friday versus the previous weeks, while hams were higher. Hams are expected to weaken substantially in the next week or two because the holiday demand will be over.