Weak demand and too much pork were two primary reasons for low hog prices this summer. The global recession is responsible for the demand problem. Enhanced productivity is a key driver in the oversupply. Pigs per litter in the last four quarters has exceeded year-earlier levels by 2.5 percent.

Normally, summer heat depresses feed intake causing the lightest slaughter weights of the year to appear in early August. But this year, the first full week of August had live weights of barrows and gilts in Iowa/Minnesota at a record 10.4 pounds heavier than for the same week in 2008. Also, pork production per sow was 5 percent higher for those farrowed in January 2009 versus 2008.