Pork Prices Saw Seasonal Strength, But May Not Hold

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. Edited by Mid-West Farm Report.

The pork markets have been moving sideways for the most part. The pork cutout last week averaged $87.11, a gain of 14 cents. Strength in hams offset weaker loins. Ham prices typically increase this time of year.

The cutout surged $4.33 higher this Monday, posted at $91.61, only to lose $3.84 Tuesday. Lean Hog futures were higher to open the week. The market has been searching for a low. The recent strength may not hold as pork production remains high and shows little sign of slowing.

Last week’s estimated harvest of 2.677 million hogs was a new high for the year. The total was 63,000 head higher than the week prior and 102,000 more than the same week last year.

Neal Hull, the National Pork Board Director at Domestic Market Development, highlighted recent marketing efforts while addressing the audience at last week’s Wisconsin Meat Industry Coalition Conference. Targeted marketing highlighting the flexibility and nutritional benefits of pork to Gen-Z, Hispanic, and African American consumers has been a focus. Engaging consumers who purchase pork only three to four times per year is another strategy the National Pork Board sees as an opportunity.

Meanwhile, the lamb market has been challenging to track recently.

After higher prices the previous week, non-traditional market lambs were steady to $15/cwt higher. Similarly, traditional market lambs had been lower, but were called steady to $2.00/cwt higher. The lamb carcass cutout fell to $460.55 last week, an $11.00 drop. Weekly harvest has not fluctuated much in 2023. Last week’s estimate of 36,000 sheep and lambs was down 1,000 on the week, and 1,000 higher than last year.

Market lambs were lower from $158 to $185/cwt.