A recent study shows there was little change in the percent of hogs marketed in the cash market through negotiated trades from January to September 2001. That’s according to a report from the National Pork Board.

While the analysis reveals some differences from January to September, the most important finding is that the percentage of hogs sold in negotiated trades has remained the, says Glenn Grimes, University of Missouri agricultural economist.

“This may signal a leveling of the decline in the live-hog spot market that we have seen during the past few years,” says Griimes. “Data from the Mandatory Price Reporting system indicate that the decline has slowed dramatically and holds hope for the level of negotiated sales to stabilize.”

The study shows that 17.3 percent of hogs marketed from Aug. 6 to Sept. 15, 2001 were sold in negotiated sales. This is the same percentage shown in Grimes survey in January 2001.

Historically, the vast majority of market hogs were sold in the cash market through negotiated sales. As recently as 1994, 62 percent of market hogs were sold on the spot market. By January 1999, that level had fallen to about 36 percent of all hogs and dropped further to 25.7 percent in 2000.

“Economists have speculated for several years that the proportion of hogs sold through negotiated sales would reach some plateau or equilibrium,” says Steve Meyer, National Pork Board director of economics. “Maybe we’ve found a level where both producers’ and packers’ confidence in the spot market began to wane, thus leading them to keep from putting more hogs under contract. Only time will tell if this is true.”