This market update is a PorkNetwork weekly column reporting trends in weaner pig prices and swine facility availability.  All information contained in this update is for the week ended March 21, 2014.

The weaner pig breakeven price is $91.08, up $4.35 for the week. October futures increased $4.35 for the week and the spread between the August and October futures contract narrowed by $1.10 to $22.45. If you are looking to hedge September sales a straight hedge against the October contract will not be your best option. The breakeven price is based on closing futures prices on March 21, 2014 and the assumptions outlined below. The breakeven price is the estimated maximum price you could pay for a weaner pig and breakeven when selling the finished hog.

Margin over variable costs was $112.91 and refers to the revenue generated from raising a weaner pig that contribute to fixed costs and pig purchase costs. In other words, if the alternative is to idle facilities every dollar between the purchase price and margin over variable costs contributes toward covering those fixed costs such as facility, labor, utilities, property taxes and insurance.

For the Week Ended


Weekly Change

Weaner pig breakeven



Margin over variable costs



Pig purchase month

Apr, 2014

Apr, 2014

Live hog sale month

Sep, 2014

Sep, 2014

Lean hog futures



Lean hog basis/cwt



Weighted average sbm futures



Weighted average sbm basis



Weighted average corn futures



Weighted average corn basis



Nursery cost/space/yr



Finisher cost/space/yr



Feed costs per head



Assumed carcass weight



Note that the weaner pig profitability calculations provide weekly insight into the relative value of pigs based on assumptions that may not be reflective of your individual situation. In addition, these calculations don’t take into account market supply and demand dynamics for weaner pigs and space availability.

National Direct Delivered Feeder Pig Report

Cash traded weaner pig volume was above average with 46,715 head reported, which is 138 percent of the 52 week average. Cash prices were $91.50 per head, up $4.85 from the previous week.


Weekly change

Cash sale weaner pig volume



Weighted average cash price/head



Cash low price/head



Cash high price/head



Graph 1 shows the seasonal trends of cash wean pig prices over the past three years. It would appear that current supply and demand pressures have pushed cash wean prices out of the seasonal pattern.

The number of reported weaner pigs sold on a formula basis was 44,972 head at an average price of $50.00. That’s down $2.11 per head from the previous week.

Graph 2 shows weaner and feeder pig reported cash prices over the past three years. Cash weaner prices have broken out higher from the 10 percent trading range they have been in for the past 15 weeks. Feeder pigs continue their upward climb gaining 28 percent in the past 13 weeks.

Ryan Cooney is general manager of ePigflow, an online market for weaner pigs, feeder pigs and facility spaces. You can find available pigs and facilities by visiting