Pork demand at the consumer level has been weak all year and for the January-November period was down 5.6 percent. Export demand, however, has spurred the demand for live hogs with a gain for these 11 months up 6.2 percent, according to Ron Plain and Glenn Grimes, University of Missouri economists.
The disruption with Mexico is having a negative impact on live hog prices, however, the issue appears to be resolved.
The futures market on Dec. 31 opened with very small changes from the previous day’s close but the February contract was up more than a dollar on Wednesday's close and was up over $2.00 per hundredweight on Friday.
”With the potential for weaker consumer demand for pork in 2009 compared to 2008, our estimate of price for the year is the same to $1.00 or $2.00 per hundredweight higher in 2009,” says Plain and Grimes. “This data indicate 2009 will be another challenging year for hog producers.”
Pork product prices Wednesday afternoon at $53.32 per hundredweight of carcass was down $0.97 per hundredweight from a week earlier and the lowest in over five years. Loin prices at $79.12 per hundredweight were up $1.42 per hundredweight, Boston butts at $57.28 were down $3.57 per hundredweight, hams at $35.26 were down $1.91 per hundredweight, and bellies at $69.98 were up $0.52 per hundredweight from a week earlier.
Feeder pig prices at United Tel-O-Auction this week were somewhat higher than two weeks earlier. United had only pigs weighing 50-60 pounds and they sold from $110-112 per hundredweight.
The price of weighted average negotiated carcass price by area Friday morning were: western Cornbelt: $49.60 per hundredweight, eastern Cornbelt $50.97 per hundredweight, Iowa-Minnesota $49.45 and nation $49.98 per hundredweight.
The live weight of barrows and gilts in Iowa-Minnesota last week at 266.6 pounds was 0.5 pound below a week earlier and 4.5 pounds below a year earlier. The big decline from a year earlier may be weather related. For the week ending 22 December weights were only 1.4 pounds below 12 months earlier.
Slaughter this week under Federal Inspection was estimated at 1,918 thousand head, down 3.9 per cent from a year earlier.