September 4, 2008
Iowa hog weight gain reflects seasonal trend


A gain of 2.1 pounds in average hog weights in Iowa/southern Minnesota last week reflects a seasonal trend and cooler-than-normal Midwest temperatures during much of August.


Market analysts, livestock packers and traders keep a close eye on average weights because increases or declines can indicate how current producers are in their marketing of the animals. That information can then be used to project short-term market trends.


The USDA early Wednesday reported the average weight for barrows and gilts in the region last week at 260.4 pounds, up from the previous week but still 2.6 pounds below the same period a year ago.


Market analysts and livestock dealers had earlier predicted the average live weight could move up due to the arrival of cooler temperatures. Swine doesn't eat as much when temperatures are hot. They have no sweat glands, so during the warmest part of the summer, daily weight gains decline significantly.


When more moderate temperatures arrive and conditions are again favourable for hogs, the animals' feed consumption increases and daily weight gains improve.


Analysts also said cheaper feed costs likely contributed to the gains since producers tend to keep the animals on feed a few days longer when making a profit.


Market analysts and livestock dealers said it is not unusual for the average weight to increase in the final week of August but the 2.1 gain was larger than normal.

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