USDA Friday announced that they are making PED virus and Swine Delta Coronavirus reportable diseases. This new reporting requirement will make it easier for USDA to track the spread of the PED virus. Hopefully, this will make it easier to contain the disease and to better understand how it is spread.
Retail pork prices averaged $3.83 per pound in March. That was up 10.3 cents from the month before, up 31.3 cents from a year ago, and up 2.1 cents from the old record set last October. The average price of a pound of boneless ham at retail in March was a record $4.208 per pound. Retail bacon prices continue strong averaging $5.552 per pound in March.
Hog prices in March were also record high. The average live price for 51-52% lean hogs was $83.82/cwt during March. That was up $19.94 from the month before, up $29.54 from March 2013, and up $7.73 from the previous record set in August 2011. The national average negotiated hog base price on a carcass weight basis in March was a record $115.47/cwt.
Hog weights are also setting records. The average live weight of barrows and gilts in Iowa-Minnesota last week, 285.7 pounds, was record high for the fourth consecutive week. Last week's average was up 0.2 pound from a week earlier and up 9.2 pounds from a year ago.
Hog slaughter this week totaled 2.007 million head, down 0.6% from the week before and down 6.2% compared to the same week last year.
Friday morning's pork cutout value was $122.30/cwt FOB the plants, down $2.82 from the week before, but up $39.15 from a year ago. This morning's hog carcass price averaged 90.8% of the cutout value.
Cash hog prices this week were sharply lower for the second consecutive week. The national average negotiated carcass price for direct delivered hogs on the morning report today was $111.09/cwt, down $8.21 from last Friday, but up $36.89 from a year ago. The eastern corn belt reported a morning average of $111.29/cwt. There were no western corn belt or Iowa-Minnesota hog price quotes this morning. Peoria had a top live price today of $82/cwt. Zumbrota, MN had no price report today. The top price Friday for interior Missouri live hogs was $83.75/cwt, down $3.75 from the previous Friday.
Cash hog prices were lower this week, but hog futures were higher. Because today is Good Friday, the week's futures trading ended yesterday. The May lean hog futures contract settled at $123.50/cwt on Thursday, up $2.90 from the previous Friday. June hog futures ended the week at $124.825/cwt, up $3.61 from the week before. July hogs gained $5.53 this week to close at $123.075/cwt. The August contract ended the week at $121.90/cwt, up $5.30 for the week.