Hog Market Expected To Move After Holiday

The following report was prepared and written by Jeff Swenson, DATCP’s livestock and meat specialist. This report draws information from several sources, including trade publications, radio broadcasts, agricultural news services, individuals involved in the industry as well as USDA reports.

The pork cutout value showed weakness through mid-week, although it was 21 cents higher last week to average $84.48. The average retail price of pork in November was $4.88, making it 3.2% lower than October. Cash hogs were 50 cents lower last week and the sector saw another large harvest run.

The USDA estimates last week’s harvest at 2.689 million hogs, and that is 15,000 more than the previous week and 109,000 more than the same week last year. Pork production year-to-date is .06% ahead of 2022 with harvest 1.6% higher. Live weights are creeping higher, which is typical for fall and early winter.

A Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report will be released late this week. There is still disagreement among analysts as to the size of the nation’s sow herd. Sow harvest has been higher, but so far, the 2023 reports have not indicated contraction or liquidation. The market will likely react to the numbers after the three-day weekend. Size of the sow heard and the pigs per litter number will draw the most attention.

Fed lambs were lower last week as Holiday needs are in the pipeline. The USDA called traditional lambs $5 to $ 9/cwt lower with the lightweight lambs $5 to $30/cwt lower. Local auction markets reported steady to higher prices, however. The lamb cutout value was $5.00 higher, with the net price of $469.63 last Friday. Rack and loin prices showed the largest gains.

The estimated harvest last week was 38,000 sheep and lambs making it even with the prior week and 1,000 more than last year. The year-to-date harvest total is running 4.4% higher than last year, but live and carcass weights are still running below last year. Lamb and mutton production is 2.1% below the 2022 level year-to-date.