Cash prices for 40 pound feeder pigs are averaging $85 to $86 per head, which is right at the highest ever.

During the first seven weeks of the year, the number of barrows and gilts imported for slaughter from Canada was down nearly 27% compared to a year ago. Imports of weaner/feeder pigs were down 2.6%. Imports of cull sows from Canada were down 0.8%.

USDA is now conducting the quarterly hog inventory survey which they will release on March 30. Based on preliminary data, it looks like the swine breeding herd declined during the last three months. Sow slaughter was up slightly compared to December-February a year ago, and our data says fewer gilts were retained for breeding.

Hog prices ended last week even to $2 lower than the previous Friday. The national average negotiated carcass price for direct delivered hogs on the morning report today was $81.95/cwt, down $2.00 from Feb. 24. The western corn belt averaged $85.34 this morning and the eastern corn belt had a morning average of $80.65/cwt. Iowa-Minnesota averaged $85.34, the same as the western corn belt. Friday’s top live hog price at Peoria was $59/cwt. Zumbtota had a top at $58/cwt. The top for interior Missouri live hogs was also $61.50/cwt, up $1.50 from the previous Friday.

USDA’s Thursday afternoon calculated pork cutout value was $84.86/cwt, down 70 cents from the previous Thursday. Loins were higher, butts and hams lower, and bellies steady. For the second Friday morning in a row, the western corn belt average hog carcass price is above the pork cutout value.

Hog slaughter totaled 2.15 million head this week, up 1.4% from the week before and up 0.5% compared to the same week last year. Barrow and gilt carcass weights for the week ending February 18 averaged 206 pounds, unchanged from the week before and up 1 pound from a year ago. Iowa-Minnesota live weights for barrows and gilts last week averaged 275.8 pounds, down 0.2 pound from the previous week, up 1.6 pounds compared to a year earlier, and above year-ago for the 14th consecutive week. Year-to-date pork production is up 0.6%.