U.S. pork exports during May were up 12.7% compared to a year earlier. Pork imports were down 1.2% in May. During May the U.S. exported 23.2% of our pork production while imports equaled 3.7% of production. For the first 5 months of 2011, pork exports are up 17.9% and imports are up 1.5%. The big growth market thus far in 2011 has been South Korea which has purchased 157 million pounds (147%) more U.S. pork than in January-May 2010. Exports to Japan are up by 81 million pound; shipments to Russia are up 39.5 million pounds; exports to China and Hong Kong are up 50 million pounds. Feeder pig imports during May were up 4.4% from a year earlier. Imports of slaughter hogs were up 10.2%.

Cash hog prices were slightly lower this week. The national average negotiated carcass price for direct delivered hogs on the morning report today was $90.88/cwt, down $1.10 from last Friday. The Friday morning price report for the western corn belt was $94.30/cwt. Iowa-Minnesota averaged $94.57/cwt. The eastern corn belt averaged $88.72/cwt. Friday’s top live hog price at Peoria was $63/cwt. Zumbrota’s top was $64/cwt. The top for interior Missouri hogs was $67.50/cwt, $3 lower than the previous Friday.

The pork cutout value rose this week. USDA’s Thursday afternoon calculated pork cutout value was $98.66/cwt, up $2.07 from the previous Thursday. Loins, hams, and butts were higher, bellies steady. This morning’s national average hog carcass price equaled 92% of the pork cutout value which is more or less a breakeven for packers.

Hog slaughter totaled 2.018 million head this week, up 16.6% from last week’s holiday-shortened total and up 0.9% compared to the same week last year. Barrow and gilt carcass weights for the week ending July 2 averaged 199 pounds, unchanged from a week earlier, but 1 pound heavier than a year ago. Iowa-Minnesota live weights for barrows and gilts last week averaged 266.6 pounds, down 1 pound from the week before and down 1.6 pounds compared to the same week last year. This is the seventh consecutive week Iowa-Minnesota weights have been below the year-earlier level.

The July lean hog futures contract went off the board today at $95.15/cwt, down 72 cents from the previous Friday. The August hog contract settled Friday at $98.95/cwt, up $2.78 for the week. October hogs settled at $91.65 and December closed at $87.87/cwt.

USDA’s June production and price forecast is for more corn acres and a lower price than their June forecast. USDA added 1.6 million acres to their planting estimate, 270 million bushels to their corn production forecast, and lowered their price estimate on this fall’s corn crop by 50 cents to $5.50 to $6.50 per bushel. They also predicted a 100 million bushel increase in ethanol use. USDA is are forecasting 2012 pork production to be 1.6% above this year and 2.7% higher than in 2010.

The September corn futures contract gained 59 cents this week to settle at $7.0125/bu. December corn futures close at $6.85. The May 2012 contract ended the week at $7.005/bu.