Winter Weather May Influence Hog Prices

Jeff Swenson, DATCP livestock and meat specialist, prepared and wrote the following market update. It 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.

Wisconsin’s sow herd on Dec. 1 was 8 percent smaller than the previous year. A total of 47,000 breeding hogs were reported on Wisconsin farms, compared to 51,000 a year ago. The nation saw a 3.3 percent decrease, according to the latest Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report.

The number of market hogs in Wisconsin was 313,000, according to the report. This was a large enough increase for total pigs in the state to grow by 4 percent over a year ago. The average pigs saved per litter was down 1 percent, averaging 11.9. That compares to a national average of 11.66 pigs saved.

Cash hogs were lower last week, and the pork cutout value fell $1.61 to average $82.96. The cutout was weaker this week. Much like beef, we expected a post-Holiday drop in demand. Lean hog futures are showing strength causing some optimism for higher cash pig prices heading into the heart of winter. Hog and pork movement will also be impacted by the forecasted winter storms should they develop.

Last week’s hog harvest estimate totaled 2.233 million and that is 187,000 less than the week before and 49,000 more than last year. The harvest estimate included a Saturday harvest of 319,000 head leading into the shortened week.