Lean hog futures were mixed Tuesday on the latest record high in pork prices and a softening of cash hog values.
August hog futures settled up 0.5% to $1.054 a pound, while October futures ended 1.3% lower at 89.12 cents a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
Strong export sales and a series of record wholesale pork prices have helped underpin packers' demand for hogs. The USDA's pork carcass composite value, a measure of wholesale prices, on Monday rose $1.32 to $110.19, a new record high, and the ninth record price in 10 days.
There are signs, however, that supplies are growing. As a prolonged Midwestern heat wave faded into cooler temperatures, hogs are able to gain weight more efficiently, which will eventually lead to heavier slaughter-ready animals. Also, the number of slaughter-ready animals typically begins to increase by mid- to late August and then continues to gradually grow through the fall and early winter. That's because cooler weather and higher demand for meat entice producers to grow their herds.
Cash hog prices were reported flat to weaker Tuesday in part because of the expectations for a coming growth in supplies
The terminal markets traded mostly steady with tops from $70 to $75 a hundred pounds on a live basis.