Fewer Hogs and Higher Prices
The last Hogs and Pigs report is good news for pork producers. Todd Gleason reports it showed fewer hogs are being raised in the United States and that, in turn, should boost prices.
Pork producers say they’ll reduce the size of their breeding herds. Or at least that’s what the latest Hogs and Pigs report showed. Purdue Extension Agricultural Economist Chris Hurt says farrowing should begin slow this spring and summer. However, right now, the breeding herd is as big as it was at this same time last year. Still, it’s a pattern of change and reduction says Hurt.
Quote Summary - The herd had been in an expansion phase from the last half of 2014 through 2015. That expansion was largely because of record high profits due to baby pig losses from PED. That expansion phase seemingly has now ended.
This ‘ending’ is a bit uneven geographically. For the 16 states USDA surveys for the March report, the breeding herd is up nine percent in Oklahoma and 10 percent in Texas. Some of the primary Midwestern states reported a decrease in their breeding herds over the past year; Iowa down five percent, Missouri down four percent, and Minnesota down two percent. In Indiana, where corn yields were reduced by summer flooding, the breeding herd was down seven percent. Those are all the current breeding herd numbers. It’s the forward looking projections that provide hope for higher pork prices.
Pork supplies in the first quarter of 2017 will come from the three percent smaller summer farrowings. However, with more pigs per litter and heavier weights, pork production is expected to be only about one percent smaller.
Chris Hurt’s price forecast for market hogs then is in a range of $49 to $54 for all of 2016, about $1 higher than last year. He expects prices to rise to the $55 to $58 range for averages in the second and third quarters, normally the grill-out seasonal highs, and then to finish the year in the mid-to-higher $40s.