Slaughter hog numbers continue to run well above expectations, say Glenn Grimes and Ron Plain, University of Missouri agricultural economist. However, since June 1, slaughter is only marginally above expectations based on the June Hogs and Pigs report.

There is a possibility that about one percent of the overrun in slaughter is due to more slaughter hog imports from Canada. A small Canadian packing plant that kills about 18,000 to 20,000 head per week, has stopped killing due to losses, and it is believed that most or all of those hogs are coming to the United States for slaughter, say the economists.

For January-May slaughter hog imports from Canada were down nearly 22 percent from the same period in 2002. This reduction amounts to about 9,400 head on average per week. However, based on weekly data, the United States may be getting about 17,000 more slaughter hogs per week from Canada this year than during the same period in 2002.

For the past 4 weeks, slaughter has run about 2.5 percent above expectations, based on preliminary data. If 17,000 hogs per week are coming from Canada this year than last year, the slaughter would be only about 1.5 percent higher than expected from domestic supplies, say Grimes and Plain.

The mild weather may be contributing to some faster rates of gain than last year for July. However, slaughter weights for live hogs in Iowa-Minnesota last week were 3.5 pounds above the same week in 2002. In early June, the weights were at or above last year’s level, say Grimes and Plain. This indicates marketings at present time are not as current as a year earlier, and the probabilities are high that weather has not been enough better for rates of gain to contribute an extra 3.5 pounds per head this year than in 2002, say the Missouri economists.