Statistics Canada says the Canadian sow herd was down 1.1% on the first day of 2011, but their market hog inventory was up 0.9%. They forecast first quarter farrowings in Canada would be down 1.4%, but the number of litters farrowed during the second quarter of 2011 would be up 0.7% compared to a year earlier.

U.S. pork exports in 2010 were up 3.2% compared to the year before. Pork imports were up 3.1%. The U.S. exported 4.2 billion pounds of pork in 2010. That was 3.4 billion pounds more than we imported. In total, 2010 pork exports equaled 18.8% of U.S. pork production and imports equaled 3.8% of our production.

The four biggest foreign buyers of U.S. pork last year were Japan, Mexico, Canada, and South Korea, respectively. Together they purchased 70% of our total pork exports. The biggest growth market last year was Mexico which bought 147 million pounds more U.S. pork than in 2009.

Canada was the source for 80.7% of U.S. pork imports in 2010. Denmark supplied 9.2% of our pork imports.

The value of pork exports ($4.08 billion) exceeded the value of pork imports by $2.8 billion. Pork exports were up by $500 million compared to 2009. We exported $43.65 worth of pork and byproducts for each hog slaughtered in 2010, up from $37.97/head the year before. Pork trade ended 2010 on a strong note. We exported 11% more pork than in December 2009.

Iowa-Minnesota live weights for barrows and gilts averaged 272.9 pounds last week, down 0.9 pounds from the week before and up 4.5 pounds compared to a year earlier. The average carcass weight of barrows and gilts slaughtered the week ending February 5 was 206 pounds, up 1 pound from the previous week and 7 pounds heavier than a year ago. Since the first of October, barrow and gilt carcass weights have averaged 2.5% above year-ago levels.

Hog prices ended this week lower than the week before. The national weighted average carcass price for negotiated hogs Friday morning was $79.24/cwt, down $3.62 from the previous week. The western corn belt averaged $79.51/cwt and Iowa-Minnesota averaged $79.55/cwt. No morning price report was available for the Eastern corn belt. The top live hog price Friday at Sioux Falls was $57/cwt. The top at Zumbrota was $55 and Peoria’s top was $54/cwt. The interior Missouri live top Friday was $57.25/cwt, down 1.50 from the previous Friday.

USDA’s Thursday afternoon calculated pork cutout value was $89.75/cwt, up 80 cents from the previous Thursday. Loins, butts, and hams were higher. Bellies were steady.

Hog slaughter totaled 2.089 million head this week, down 3.1% from the week before and down 3.0% compared to the same week last year.

The April lean hog futures contract ended the week at $92.27/cwt, down 10 cents from the previous Friday. The May contract ended the week at $100.55/cwt. June hogs settled at $100.77. July and August contracts also closed above $100/cwt.