This week I was with 2 different clients who were in the weaned pig market. Both were looking to sell excess pigs from sow units in which they are invested. Both reported the best bid they could get from several brokers was $32/pig. Several reasons were given from the sharp drop in the spot price for weaned pigs in the past 2 months. These include pricing formulas are now based on the October and December lean hog contract on the Chicago Board, uncertainties about how feed grain prices and an apparent abundance of weaned pigs available.
Average spot market weaned pig prices (as reported by USDA) for January, February and March were $59 (high of $67), $59.74 (high of $71), and $45.42 (high of $61 first week of March), respectively. The change from the $71/pig high in February to the $32 bid this week is $39/pig which is quite a shock to those trying to sell weaned pigs. The winter high prices reflected both pigs that would be sold in the summer market and an apparent shortage of pigs due to PRRS.
While there have been quite a few rumors and stories about the severity of PRRS this past winter in the upper Midwest, based on the above information it appears that many of the sow units that had pig flow issues a few months ago due to PRRS have stabilized and reproductive performance is returning to normal.