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!Ul!ITZD STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Bureau of Agricultural .-*.*:-r..cs
HS-6 Air'l 17, 1937
1 [ -T I H J o; o I T U A T I C N
f u fPj. 1 CRY Suimisary
Short supplies and high prices of corn resulting from the 1936
drought continued to be a major factor in the hog situation. 7ith the
recent sharp rise in corn prices, the hog-corn price ratio has become
even more unfavorable for hog producers. This unfavorable ratio probably
will cause marketing of 1936 fall pigs from most areas to be early this
year. Little if any seasonal increase in hog slaughter may occur in the
late spring, however, since marketing of last year's spring pigs are
being completed earlier than usual, and will be relatively small by that
The December 1936 Pig Crop report indicated that the number of
sows to farrow this spring would be about 5 percent smaller than the number
farrowing last spring. In view of the short supplies of corn and the low
hog-corn price ratio in recent months, it is likely that the reduction in
spring farrowings will be at least as large as indicated in December. If
corn crop prospects are favorable this summer, however, the number.of sows
bred to farrow in the fall of 1937 probably will be li rg-r than the number
farrowing in the fall of 1936. Such an increase in the number of sows
retained for breeding along with the early mark' ein:s of fall pigs will
reduce hog slaughter in late summer considerably.
Hog slaughter during the remainder of the 1936-37 marketing year
(up to October 1) is expected to be smaller than that of the same period
of 1935-36. This decrease in slaughter, however, will be more than offset
by the increase over a year earlier in the stocks of pork on hand in the
early spring. Despite the larger total supplies of hog products in prospect
for the remainder of the year, hog prices probably will average as high as
or higher than a year earlier, because of the stronger demand this year.
With the seasonal decline in hog sl -.ight.er, it is likely that hog prices
will rise by about the usual seasonal amount. Most of the advance Fr.rob-bly
will occur in July and August.
REVIEW OF RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
Hog prices continue steady in March
Prices of hogs have been fairly steady during the past 2 months
following the decline in January. The weekly average price of h .-.- per
100 pounds at Chicago throughout most of this period has been slightly
above $10. The Chicago average price for March was $10.11, compared with
$10.24 a year earlier. Though the general level of hog prices did not
decline in March, prices of lightweight hogs weakened somewhat.
arch slau._ht er larger than year earlier
Slaughter of hogs under Federal inspection in March, totalin:
3,033,000 head, was 7 percent larger than in February and 16 percent I':rT,-r
than in the corresponding month a year earlier. In all months of the
present hog marketing year, which b.:-:.n October 1, 1936, inspected .:,-1'* Jhter
has been larger than in the corresponding months of the previous yi.-r.
For thy period from October through March 1936-37, inr--:cted slaughter
totaled 2!1,859,0': head, which was 38 percent larger than in the corresponding
S-.ricd of last year and 11 percent lI.r'.:r than 2 years earlier, but 13
percent smaller than the 5-year 1929-33 aver.'ie.
The lar:-. r slaughter in March than in February was contrary to the
sulal relationship between these 2 months. While -..'.-r 'e weights of hl--s
marketed showed little clhn:e in March, market reports indicate that the
:r portionn of lightweight unfinished hogs in the total supplies has been
increasing. It also is reported that market receipts in recent weeks have
included some hi'. from the 1936 fall pig crop. This earlier-than-usual
moere:nt of fall pi.:- to market and the increased propor-tion of lighi-wcight
in the supplies probably reflect the unusually low h',,--corn r-rice ratio
rv:il' during lhe past 6 months.
Corn prices advance; hog-corn ratio declines
Corn prices advanced sharply during March and early April with prices
at Chicago reaching the highest level in more than 10 years. Since hog
prices changed relatively little during this period, the ratio between hog
prices and corn prices declined steadily during March. For the first week
in April the ratio was lower than at any time during the present marketing
year and was less than half as high as it was a year earlier.
Prices of hogs and corn at Chicago,and hog-corn price ratio,
by months, October March, 1934-35 to 1936-37
Average price Average price per Hog-corn price ratio,
per 100 pounds bushel of No. 3 based on Chicago
Month of hogs : yellow corn prices 1/
:1934-35 :1935-36 1936-37: 1934-35 l935-36:l936-37: 1934-35 1935-36:1936-37
:Dollars Dollars Dollars Cents Cents Cents Bushels Bushels Bushels
Oct. :5.60 9.83 9.55 77.9 82.0 106.6 7.2 12.0 9.0
Nov. : 5.66 9.31 9.48 83.4 62.1 104.7 6.8 15.0 9.1
Dec. :5.69 9.57 9.96 93.3 59.0 107.2 6.3 16.2 9.3
Jan. : 7.70 9.85 10.24 90.8 60.8 112.2 8.5 16.2 9.1
Feb. : 8.35 10.37 10.08 87.7 61.3 111.2 9.5 16.9 9.1
Mar. 9.09 10.24 10.11 83.3 60.8 116.0 10.9 16.8 3.7
Number of bushels of corn equivalent in value to 100 pounds of live hogs.
The foregoing table shows prices of hogs and corn at Chicago and the
ratio between such prices from October through March for the past 3 years.
In 1934-35, following the 1934 drought, the ratio was very low in October,
November and December, but it increased somewhat from January through March.
In 1936-37, after the 1936 drought, the ratio in the first 3 months of the
marketing year was somewhat higher than in the corresponding period of 1935,
but it did not increase during the second quarter as it did 2 years earlier.
In March of this year the hog-corn price ratio was lower than it was in
March 1935 and was much below average.
The high prices of corn this year are largely the result of the short
supplies of corn brought about by the two severe droughts in the past 3
years. As indicated in the March issue of this report, supplies of corn on
farms in the early spring were very small, even smaller than 2 years earlier.
The shortage of corn and other feed grains is greatest in the Western Corn
Belt the leading hog producing region, where the effects of the 1936
drought were most severe.
Wholesale prices of fresh pork advanced slightly during March. prices
of cured pork weakened somewhat in early March and then held about steady
during the remainder of the month. Lard prices were about steady during
March. As compared with a year earlier, prices of fresh pork and lard in
March were up slightly but prices of cured pork were slightly lower.
Stocks of pork reduced slightly
Storage holdings of pork on April 1, totaling 756,000,000 pounds,
were slightly smaller than a month earlier, but they were 68 percent larger
than on April 1, 1936, and 21 percent greater than the 5-year April 1
average. Stocks of lard, amounting to 218,000,000 pounds, were the largest
for April 1 on record and were the third largest ever reported for any
month. The increase in the combined stocks of pork and lard on April 1
over those of a year earlier is roughly equivalent to the products obtainable
from 2,800,000 hogs of average market weight.
Stocks of pork usually decrease considerably from May 1 to November 1,
whereas holdings of lard usually increase from January to September. In
view of the present large holdings, a larger than average out-of-storage
movement of pork seems probable during the remainder of the 1936-37 marketing
Storage holdings of pork and lard on April 1, average 1932-36,
annual 1935-37, and March 1, 1937
: Apr. 1 : : Apr. 1
Item average Apr. ar. : 1937
: 1932-36 : 1935 1936 197
S,0i' 1,000 C 1,000 .1,
Sounds :uns Z ds pounds pounds
Frozen ...........: 174,079 203,264 98,397 325,036 328,059
Dry salt, cured
and in process of:
cure ............: 96,345 73,556 ;.,348 84,190 89,145
Pickled,cured and :
in !r ~cc: of
cure ............. 357,006 350,526 263,40'4 66,46, 338, 1."
Total......... 627,430 627,34,6 450,149 775,603 756,095
lard ...............: 104,566 14,934 76,814 217,56
Exports continue small
Exports of pork in January and February were somewhat larger than a
year earlier but were very small compared with experts of recent years
prior to 1935. In the first 5 months of the present marketing year pork
exports were slightly smaller than those of the corresponding months of
1935-36. Exports of lard thus far in the current marketing year have been
at a low level, but they were slightly larger than in the period October -
February 1935-36. In January and February this year lard exports were smaller
than in the corresponding months of 1936.
Pork imLorts increase
Imports of pork increased materially in early 1937. In January
and February they totaled about 11,962,000 pounds compared with 4,210,000
pounds imported in January and February 1936. The largest single item in
the imports of pork this year was hams, which were received chiefly from
Poland. Imports of cured pork in January and February totaled 8,500,000
pounds, and those of fresh and frozen pork in these 2 months amounted to
Probably for the first time on record, imports of pork in February
exceeded the exports of this product. For 2 months, January and February
combined, the excess of imports over exports amounted to about 3,800,000
pounds. When compared with the total dressed weight of inspected hog
slaughter in January and February, amounting to about 1,034,000,000 pounds,
it will be observed that these net imports of pork are very small in relation
to domestic production.
The increase in imports during the last few months probably is a
reflection of the higher prices for hogs and pork in the United States than
in other countries. Slaughter supplies of hogs in recent months in this
country, while larger than a year earlier, are still below average. Domestic
demand conditions have been relatively favorable in the last year. Incomes
of industrial workers in the United States in 1936 were at the highest level
since 1930. In 1932, when prices of hogs declined to the lowest level in
about a half-century, imports of pork were negligible.
The low level of hog prices in 1932, of course, was not the result
of the negligible imports, nor was the high level of prices in 1937 caused
by the larger imports; rather, the increased imports early this year were
made possible in part by the relatively high domestic prices of hogs and
BACG..F,.rD In the March issue of this
report it was indicated that, on the basis of
the size of the United States pig crop in 1936
and the number of hogs marketed from October
through March 1936-37, hog slaughter during the
remainder of 1936-37 probably would be smaller
than that of a year earlier. It was stated,
however, that this decrease in hog slaughter
would be more than offset by the increase over
a year earlier in storage stocks of hog products
on hand in the early spring of this year. In
view of the improved demand conditions it was
indicated that hog prices during the remainder
of 1936-37 (up to October 1) probably would
average higher than in the sane period last year
despite the larger total supplies of hog products
in prospect. The December 1936 pig crop report
indicated that the number of sows to farrow in
the spring of 1937 would be about 5 percent
smaller than the number farrowing last spring.
Conditions since December have not been such as
to cause the decrease to be smaller than
indicated by the December report.
One of the major factors in.i-n present hog situation continues to be
the short supplies and high prices of corn. With th. recent sharp rise in
corn prices, the hog-corn price ratio has become even more unfavorable
for hog producers. This unfavorable ratio probably will cause marketing
of 1936 fall pigs to be earlier than usual this year. However, little if
any seasonal in rease in hog slaughter may occur in the late spring, since
the market movement of hogs from last year's spring pig crop apparently is
being completed ear lirthan usual.
As was indicated in the March issue of this r:p.-rt, many producers
will follow the practice of marketing 1936 fall pigs as soon as possible
this spring, while other producers, particularly those in the 'Western Corn
Belt, may hold over a considerable number of fall pi until late summer
and then finish them on the new crop of small -r-.iniL. Whether this latter
practice will bc followed very generally depends lar- .:ly upon ;:-Lsture and
c--;.. conditions this spring and su mner.
If corn crop prospects are favorable this summer it seems likely that
the number of sows bred for fall farrow will be lari :r than a year earlier.
The retention of an increased number of sows for breeding probably will
result in a considerably smaller hog slaughter in the late summer (July -
Se.-'ember) than in the same period last sum:iler. Also, if corn prospects
are favorable, the market movement of 1937 s ri.. ii.:: will be later than
usual since such pigs will be held for fii)i.;s.i.- on new corn. In the
su::ner of 19 when dr. -ht, conditions became severe, there was ccnslider1abl i
li uidation of sows and sprii: pi-.s, which resulted in a :Ik.ri.al increase
in -;ll .-h r lies at that time.
Since a fairly large number of fall pigs probably will be marketed earlier
than usual and some may be held over to be marketed in the early fall, the
seasonal reduction in hog slaughter after June is likely to be greater than usual,
especially if marketing of packing sows also are relatively small in this period.
Consumer deiuand for hog products thus far in 1936-37 has been somewhat
strcngcr than in 1935-36, and it is probable that during the remainder of the
present marketing year it will continue at a higher level than last year. In the
next 6 months, however, further improvement in consumer demand from the present
level is somewhat uncertain.
As hog slaughter declines with the approach of summer, it is likely that
hog prices will advance by about the usual seasonal amount. Most of the advance
probably will occur in July and August. Although hog slaughter in the late
summer is expected to be smaller than that of a year earlier and demand
conditions are likely to be better, the relatively large out-of-storage movement
of hog products in prospect for that period probably will prevent the advance
in hog prices from being greater than average during the period.
Supplies of hogs and hog products, specified periods
Oct. Sept. Oct. Feb.
S : : : Average: :
Ite Unit .Feb. .Jan. .Feb. :192-29:1934- :1935- :1935- 1936-
S :1936 1937 :1937 : to 35 36: 36 : 37
: : : :1932-33:
: sands :2,319 3,519 2,042
Total .......... :mil. lb.:
Average ........ :pound
Total .......... :il.lb.:
Yield of lard per
weight of hogs...:pound
Production of lard:-il.lb.:
Lard .............: :
Pork ............: :
Lard ............ : :
Imports of pork 2/: "
Proportion of sows:
46,363 30,600 31,022
222 217 219 231 220 232
515 765 623 10,723 6,742 7,191
169 162 164 175
390 570 464 8,069
11.6 12.1 11.4 11.5
790 070 343 465
7,171 5,102 5,124
961 730 712
211 104 69
657 142 101
6 7 32
51.2 51.3 52.0 45.1 49.2
_/ Jruauj of Animal Industry.
2/ United States Department of Co:-.!erce. Pork includes bacon, hams and
shoulders, and fresh, canned and pickled pork. Lard includes neutral lard.
3/ Includes gilts.
i.iiliERIeTv OF FLORIDA
3 1262 08861 7716
Prices of '-I- and hog products, specified periods
S: Oct. Sept. : Oct. -Mar.
: : : : :Average:
Item : Unit :Mar. :Feb. :Mar. :1928-29:1934-:1935-:1935-:1936-
S :1936 :1937 :1937 : to : 35 : 36 : 36 : 37
Seven markets....: lbs. :10.03
Chicago ......... :10.24
United States average
price received by
far:iers .............: : 9.17
Prices of hog products,
Loins,8-10 lbs...: :20.00
No.1,10-12 Ibs...: :25.12
No.1 dry cure,
6-8 Ibs. ........: :30.25
H.W.,tubs ........: :11.88
price of hog products.
New York ............. :20.75
Average price of 0o.3 : cents
Yellow corn,Chicago..: per i.6 61
ratio 2/ :
Chicago .........:bushel :16.8
H.C. States .....: :18.8
Fr::'iIrtion of packing
sows in total packer
and shipper purchases:
Seven markets 3/ :percent: 5.0
Average ".i.ii 'ht at
seven markets .......:pound : 240
8.18 9.64 9.60 9.68
8.42 9.90 9.86 9.90
7.54 9.15 9.04 9.13
17.07 20.08 21.21 20.71 18.73
20.31 21.62 26.58 27.07 23.33
23.71 28.24 30.86 32.12 27.29
9.68 14.29 12.65 13.35 13.20
17.36 20.49 21.93 22.52 20.53
62 86 74 64 110
9.1 8.7 11.6 9.9 14.1 15.5 9.0
9.0 9.0 12.9 10.0 15.8 17.7 9.2
1/ 1/ 16.0 9.0
1/ 229 241 ?34 17
Number of bushels of corn equivalent in value to 100 pounds of live hogs.
Clonthly figures computed from weekly avories..
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