The unemployment rate inched up from 7.8 percent in September to 7.9 percent in October. That's not the right direction to boost meat demand.
Along with a lot of other business, Hurricane Sandy disrupted hog movement on the east coast.
Sow slaughter is not what it used to be. As the number of pigs produced per litter has gone up, sows' share of total hog slaughter has gone down. Prior to 1985, sows made up over 5 percent of federally inspected hog slaughter. Prior to 1995, sows made up over 4 percent of hog slaughter. Prior to 2009, sows were more than 3 percent of hog slaughter. Last year, sows were 2.75 percent of hog slaughter. Through October, only 2.7 percent of 2012 hog slaughter has been sows. As the share has declined, the relationship between sow price and barrow and gilt price has become more erratic. The demand for sows is primarily for whole hog sausage. In 2010, the average price of 450-500 pound sows was higher than the average for barrows and gilts, on a liveweight basis. Thus far in 2012, sow prices are averaging only 80 percent of barrows and gilts.
On Thursday (Nov. 1) afternoon the calculated pork cutout value was $85.66/cwt, down a penny from the previous Thursday and down $7.87 from a year ago. This week loins and butt prices were lower. Hams and bellies were higher.
Hog prices ended the week of Nov. 2 lower. The national average negotiated carcass price for direct delivered hogs on the morning report Friday was $78.82/cwt, down 68 cents from last Friday. The eastern corn belt averaged $78.13/cwt on the morning report today (Nov. 2). The western corn belt averaged $80.04 and Iowa-Minnesota was a penny higher at $80.05/cwt. Peoria had a top live price this morning of $54/cwt. Zumbrota, MN topped at $57/cwt. The price top for interior Missouri live hogs was $57.75/cwt, down 75 cents from the previous Friday. This morning's hog price is 92 percent of pork cutout value.
Hog slaughter this week (Nov. 2) totaled 2.359 million head, down 0.8 percent from the week before, but up 0.4 percent compared to the same week last year. Year-to-date hog slaughter is up 2.0 percent and pork production is up 2.3 percent.
The average barrow and gilt live weight in Iowa-Minnesota last week was 272.8 pounds, up 1.1 pounds from a week earlier, but down 0.7 pound from a year ago. This was the fifth consecutive week with lighter weights than a year ago.
Hog futures were lower this week (ended Nov. 2). Friday's close for the December lean hog futures contract was $77.75/cwt, down $1.15 from the previous Friday. February hog futures ended the week 55 cents lower at $83.90/cwt. April hogs settled at $89.47/cwt, June at $99.77/cwt.