Hog Outlook: Pork export demand climbs

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USDA's November WASDE lowered 2013 corn acres planted by 2.1 million, lowered acres harvested by 1.9 million, and boosted yield by 5.1 bushels to 160.4 bushels per acre compared to the September estimates. They now estimate the 2013 corn harvest at 13.989 billion bushels and the marketing year price at $4.10-$4.90 per bushel, down 30 cents from their September prediction.

Today USDA lowered soybean acres planted and harvested by 0.7 million, increased yield by 1.8 to 43.0 bushels per acre and raised production to 3.258 billion bushels. Their price forecast range of $11.15-13.15/bushel is 35 cents lower than before.

Calculations by the Economics Department at Iowa State University say the typical Iowa market hog was sold at a profit of $8.14 during September. This was the fourth consecutive profitable month following 10 months of red ink. The estimated cost of production for hogs sold during September, $69.36/cwt live, was down for the eighth consecutive month.

Domestic meat demand was up 4.8 percent in August and domestic pork demand was up 6.8 percent. Export demand for pork was up 1.2 percent in August. August was the sixth consecutive month with domestic pork demand above the year-ago level. August was the fourth consecutive month with higher export demand for pork.

Hog prices were $2 to $3 lower this week. The national average negotiated carcass price for direct delivered hogs on the morning report today was $82.01/cwt. Iowa-Minnesota had a morning price average of $83.74/cwt. The western corn belt had a morning average of $83.67/cwt. The eastern corn belt had no morning price quote due to confidentiality reporting rules. Peoria had a live price top this morning of $56/cwt. Zumbrota, MN topped out at $57/cwt. The top price for interior Missouri live hogs Friday was $58.50/cwt, down $3 from the previous Friday.

Hog slaughter this week totaled 2.29 million head, up 0.8 percent from the week before, but down 2.8 percent compared to the same week last year. This was the twelfth consecutive week with slaughter below the year-ago level and the sixteenth consecutive week with hog slaughter lower than expected based on the September hogs and pigs report.

The average barrow and gilt live weight in Iowa-Minnesota last week was a record 279.7 pounds, up 1.9 pounds from a week earlier, up 7.6 pounds from a year ago, and up 1.7 pounds from the old record high reached twice: the weeks ending on 1/7/12 and 4/27/13. The heavier weights this fall are likely due to a cooler summer, cheaper feed, and higher hog prices than a year ago.

Friday morning's pork cutout value based on mandatory price reporting was $94.27/cwt FOB plants, up 66 cents from the week before and up $7.31 from a year ago. This morning's hog prices averaged 87.0 percent of the cutout value.

The December lean hog futures contract settled at $88.12/cwt today, down 23 cents from the previous Friday. February hog futures ended the week at $92.07/cwt, up 85 cents from the week before. April hogs gained 83 cents to close at $93.70.



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