Pork Profit Maximizer – Retail Edition
Hog slaughter three weeks ago was up 8% compared to a year ago. Then for the week ending July 28 slaughter registered an 11% decline as the largest US pork packer had to shut down plants in order to perform scheduled maintenance. It appears that slaughter at Smithfield plants has returned to normal and for the week ending August 4 total hog slaughter was 2.320 million head, 3.6% higher than last year. The slaughter disruptions last week caused hogs to get backed up in some farms. Average weights were near year-ago levels for much of June and July but they are now as much as 1% higher than a year ago. Also, futures hold a significant discount to cash markets and the incentive for producers will be to continue to try and push hogs out the door as quickly as possible. Cash base hog values have been steadily losing ground and that will likely continue until producers once again get weights under control. With all the trade uncertainty and deteriorating fall market outlook, the uneven slaughter has escalated the anxiety level in the marketplace.