September 25, 2008
The average weight for barrows and gilts in Iowa/southern Minnesota for last week was up again, gaining 1.1 pounds from the previous week, tracking the seasonal trend.
The USDA reported the latest average at 263 pounds. The gain also narrowed the spread from the year-ago figure to 3.5 pounds from 4.3 pounds the previous week.
Producers have been marketing their hogs a few days earlier than normal throughout the summer because of high feed costs, analysts and livestock dealers said.
After the Labour Day holiday, some producers were reluctant to sell because prices had fallen sharply going into the holiday. The cash hog market began to rally that week, and producers hung onto the hogs a few more days in hopes that prices would continue to move up. Also, most pork processors were full during the holiday week and early the following week, so there were few plants available for producers to sell to, they said.
The cool late-summer temperatures are also conducive for hog weight gains, analysts said. The hogs fell better when temperatures are mild, they eat more feed and gain weight faster.
The seasonal trend shows hog weights continuing to rise, then hit a high anywhere from late November to early January, analysts said. However, with record slaughter expected during the fourth quarter, keeping the average weight well below the year-ago figure would be supportive for prices by limiting the amount of additional pork to be produced, analysts said.