The annual average live-market-hog price has been within 42 cents of $47.50 per hundredweight for each of the last three years. Annual production costs have increased more than $17.50 per hundredweight during those same three years.

Data maintained by John Lawrence at IowaStateUniversity shows the historic relationship between corn prices and production costs. When corn prices were $2 a bushel or less, the live breakeven price for barrows and gilts was in the upper $30s. The breakeven hog price in 2008 was a record $57.05 per hundredweight with corn at a record $4.81 a bushel. If corn averages close to $4 per bushel this year, breakevens should be in the area of $52 per hundredweight on a live basis.