Pork & Lamb Prices Move Lower, But There’s Optimism

Prepared and written by Jeff Swenson, DATCP Livestock and Meat Specialist. The Market Update draws information from several sources, including trade publications, radio broadcasts, agricultural news services, individuals involved in the industry as well as USDA NASS and AMS reports. Edited by Mid-West Farm Report.


Cash hogs were down slightly last week, not surprisingly as the pork cutout dropped $2.35 for a five-day average of $98.20.

Harvest was estimated to be 2.379 million hogs last week and that is 108,000 less than the prior week and 1,000 fewer than last year. Pork production in March was 2.3 billion pounds, 9.6% below last year. The average live weight dropped three pounds to 289. Year-to-date harvest is running .06% higher than 2023 while pork production is .02% higher.

The USDA projected pork production to be 2.8% higher in 2024, but so far, the increase has not developed. The hog supply remains current, and exports continue at a strong pace.

Pork stocks in cold storage on March 1 were 13.1% less than last year. There is reason to be optimistic about fed hog prices if production continues at levels similar to a year ago.


March lamb and mutton production was 12.3 million pounds, making it 5% lower than March 2023, while harvest was 3% lower. The average live weight was 122 pounds, and that was down 3 pounds. Production year-to-date is up 1%.

Fed lamb prices were lower last week nationally with an estimated 34,000 sheep and lamb harvested. The total was 2,000 lower than the previous week and 1,000 less than a year ago.

Wholesale lamb prices were higher with the cutout value up $7.39 from the previous week at $480.11.

In Wisconsin and surrounding state auction markets, shorn lambs brought $185 to $200/cwt with some to $220/cwt.