The hog situation


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The hog situation
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32 no. : ; 28 cm.
United States -- Bureau of Agricultural Economics
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Bureau of Agricultural Economics
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Swine -- Marketing -- Statistics -- Periodicals -- United States   ( lcsh )
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Statement of Responsibility:
United States Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Agricultural Economics.
Dates or Sequential Designation:
HS-1 (Nov. 1936)-HS-32 (June 1939).
General Note:
Title from caption.

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University of Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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oclc - 04752171
lcc - HD9435.U5 A25
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Related Items

Preceded by:
World hog and pork prospects
Succeeded by:
Beef cattle situation
Succeeded by:
Sheep and lamb situation
Succeeded by:
Livestock situation

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\ .... A!

Bureau of Agricultural Economics

HS-7 DMay 18, 1937



The two most important factors in the present hog situation, accord-

ing to the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, are the unusually large storage

stocks of hog products and the high prices of corn compared with prices of

hogs. The larger-than-average stocks of pork and lard that were accumulated

this winter apparently have prevented the usual spring advance in hog prices.

On May 1 the increase in storage holdings over a year earlier was equivalent

to the products obtainable from about 2,700,000 hogs of average market weight.

The hog-corn price ratio has been much below average since last fall,

and in April it was near the lowest level on record. The short supplies and

high prices of corn have caused an early market movement of 1936 spring pigs,

and also are causing marketing of fall pigs to be earlier than usual. In

addition, the shortage and high prices of feed grains probably have resulted

in a smaller spring pig crop this year than last.

With hogs from the 1936 fall pig cro? being marketed relatively early,

it seems probable that the seasonal reduction in hog marketing in the

summer will be greater than usual. If corn crop prospects are favorable

this summer, the number of sows bred for fall farrow probably will be larger

than a year earlier. This retention of increased numbers of sows also will

be a factor in reducing summer slaughter.


Hog prices changed very little from mid-January to early May, with

a-.'*~r-ae prices at Chicago fluctuating around the $10 level. Prices rose

sharply, however, in the second week of May. In view of the decrease in

hog slaughter in prospect, it is probable thathog prices will advance

considerably in the next few months. The decrease in hog slaughter this

summer will be offset in part by a larger-than-average movement of hog

products out of storage.


BACK...LU:.'D Hog prices advanced steadily from
late November to early January.when the weekly
average price of hogs at Chicago reached $10.41.
Prices declined during the remainder of January
and have been fairly steady during the past 3
months, fluctuating around a level slightly above
$10. Because of the drought of 1936, corn prices
thus far in the 1936-37 marketing year have been
high in relation to hog prices. The sharp advance
in corn prices in late March and early April has
caused the hog-corn price ratio in recent weeks to
be near the lowest on record for this season of
the year. Storage stocks of hog products increased
greatly from October to February and are still
very large.

Although hog prices avergcd slightly lower in April than in March
there was little ch.-ng in prices from mid-January, throu:'. the first week of
May. The Chicago average for April of $9.97 was about 50 cents below that
of the corresponding month last year. However, prices advanced sharply in
the second week of May as sl ughter was reduced materially. E'c:.;se of the
relatively greater shortage of hojs in the Western Corn Belt than in other
regions, hog prices in the former area in recent months have been high in
relation to those at Chicago.

HIl- 31 lht r 1:rgr than year earlier

'-.'.-i-hter of h.:.s under Federal ir.s..-ction in April, tot,:-.lin
2,810,000 h,..-, was slightly smaller than in March but it was about 10 percent
larger than in April 1936. In every month thus far in the current hog market-
i.r,- year, b..,-i last October, slaughter has exceeded that of the
c:ir.: :.r rinii, month a year earlier. For the October-April period inspected
slaughter, alt 1o .- ii below avorI:.-e, was about 34 percent lirg-r than in the
same months of 19:-.-. and 13 [..rcent greater than in 191.-35. The larg-r
3l-..!.tcr thus far in 1936-37 cr:..-ired with a year earlier reflects not only
the .:.r pi.- crops in 19.i( than in 1935 but also the earlier-than-usual
mark 1...; of .L,;-, this year, which resulted fro. the and high prices
:- feed grains.


Ho-corn price ratio near record low level

Steady hog prices and advancing corn prices in March and April result-
ed in a further decline in the hog-corn price ratio. Based on prices
received by producers in mid-April, the hog-corn ratio of 7.6 in the North
Central States was the lowest for the month on record. For the United States
as a whole, the ratio in April was the lowest on record for the month,
except for 1934.

Wholesale prices of fresh pork advanced during April, but prices of
cured pork were about steady. Lard prices weakened somewhat, late in the
month. Prices of fresh pork have been advancing steadily since late
January, whereas prices of cured pork and lard have been steady to lower
during this period. As compared with a year earlier wholesale prices of
fresh pork and lard in April were slightly higher, while prices of cured
pork were somewhat lower.

Storage stocks continue large

Storage holdings of pork on May 1 vere about the same as a month
earlier, but they were materially larger than a year earlier and were above
average for that date. Although stocks of lard were reduced slightly during
April, the total on May 1 was the largest for that date on record. The
increase in stocks of hog products on May 1 this year over those of a year
earlier is roughly equivalent to the products obtainable from about
2,700,000 hogs of average market .,ciiht. This number is nearly as large as
the inspected hog.slaughter in March.

Storage holdings of pork and lard on May 1, average 1932-36,
annual 1935-37, and April 1, 1937

: May 1 May 1
tem average : May 1, May 1, Apr. 1 1937
Item :average : :
:1932-36 : 1935 1936 1937 : /

: 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000
:_pounds pounds pounds pounds pounds
Frozen ..........: 170,550 177,837 102,031 328,383 316,486
Dry salt, cured
and in process of:
sure ............: 97,083 71,265 90,167 89,164 91,731
Pickled,cured and :
in process of
cure ............: 353,926 315,779 265,204 338,230 348,138
Total .... : 621,559 564,881 457,402 755,777 756,355

Lard ..............: 109,368 101,224 83,615 217,227 210,537

1/ preliminary.


Stocks of pork and lard increased greatly from November to February,
and have continued relatively large. Partly because of the larger-than-average
storage holdings and partly because the seasonal decrease in hog slaughter
after January was less than average, hog prices did not advance in late
winter and early spring of this year as they usually do during that season.
Usually stocks of pork are reduced materially from late spring to early fall.
The present large stocks, therefore, will add considerably to the quantity
of hog products to be moved into consumption channels during the coming

E:.:,c rts of hog products at low levels

Exports of pork and lard in the first 6 months (October March) of
the present marketing year were about the same as the record small volume of
exports during the same period of last year. From January through March
exports of lard have been somewhat smaller than those of the corresponding
months of 1936.

Imrports of pork increase

Imports of pork thus far in 1936-37 have been considerably larger
than in 1935-36 and have been much larger than average, as indicated in
the accompanying table. In December, probably for the first time in
record,imports of pork exceeded exports of that product. Larger imports
than exports also were reported for the period from January through March.
For the December March period, the excess of imports over exports
amounted to about 7,900,000 pounds. Despite the recent marked increase
in imports, they are still very small in relation to the domestic
production of hog products. For the period December through March, the
total dressed weight of inspected hog slaughter amounted to 2,284,CC'C,00

HS-7 -5-

Exports of lard and exports and imports of pork, by months,
average 1930-31 to 1934-35, annual 1935-36 and 1936-37

S Exports of lard : Epcorts of pork : Imports of pork 1/
:Average: : :Average: : :Average:
:1930-31: : :1930-31: : :1930-31:
Month : to :1935-36:1936-37: to :1935-36: 1936-37: to 1935-36 :1936-37
:1934-35: = :1934-35: : :1934-35:
:1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000
:pounds pounds pounds pounds pods funds pounds pounds pounds pounds

Oct. .....: 43,471 2,769 10,536 10,601 4,656 4,249 325 1,213 3,495
Nov. .....: 36,736 7,988 9,663 14,391 6,885 6,822 367 1,266 3,914
Dec. .....: 46,988 7,898 9,473 10,978 4,934 4,145 329 1,231 5,794
Jan. .....: 55,705 10,161 8,855 11,227 4,768 3,521 262 2,250 5,832
Feb. .....: 49,645 7,570 4,518 10,330 3,698 4,643 292 1,960 6,129
Mar. ...... 40,386 11,566 7,376 10,603 4,837 5,112 444 2,922 7,572

Compiled from reports of the United States Department of Commerce.
Lard includes neutral lard, amd pork includes bacon, hams and shoulders, and
fresh, canned and pickled pork.
1/ General imports prior to 1934;- tlinnini January 1, 1934, imports for

The increase in pork imports in recent months has been largely in
shipments of canned hams, mostly from Poland. The principal reason for the
increase in imports of pork has been the greater advance in prices of hogs and
pork in the past 3 or 4 years in this country than in foreign countries. For
example, the average price of hogs in Chicago in early 1937 was about 160
percent higher than in 1932, while prices of hogs in Poland in the first 3
months of 1937 were only about 50 percent higher than in 1932.

In 1932 when hog prices in the United States were at record low levels,
imports of pork were negligible. The reasons for the advance in hog prices
since 1932 have been the improvement in domestic consumer demand and a
reduction in slaughter supplies of hogs. The very small imports in 1932
were not a factor in causing the low level of hog prices in that year; and,
although imports of pork in recent months have been much larger than in 1932,
it does not seem probable that they have had any significant effect upon hog
prices in the United States.



r ..- :c.. l. In earlier issues of this report it
was indicated that hog slaughter during the summer
season, May through September 1937, probably would
be smaller than that of a year earlier. But it was
stated that the decrease in slaughter during this
period would be more than offset by the increase
in storage stocks of pork and lard. Despite the
larger total supplies of hog products in prospect
for the remainder of the 1936-37 marketing year,
hog prices probably will average at least as high as
or slightly higher than in the summer season last
year. The 1937 spring pig crop probably will be
smaller than tIhat of 1936, in view of the very bi+.
corn prices in relation to hog prices prevailing in
the last several months.

In view of the unfavorable hog-corn price ratio, it appears that the
market movement of fall pigs from many areas is being completed earlier than
usual this year. In some areas, notably the W'estern Corn Belt, a large
number of fall pigs probably are being carried over on r---as to be finished
on new crop small grains and new crop corn. In early May market receipts
were sharply reduced, and during the next few months slaughtLr supplies of
hogs are expected to be considerably smaller than a year earlier.

If corn crop prospects are favorable this summer, the number of
sows bred for fall farrow probably will be 1 .r.-r than a year earlier. The
retention of the larger number of sows for breeding will tend to curtail
further the supply of hogs available for market from July to September.
Hence, if crop conditions this year are average or bettor than aver -e,
inspected hog slaughter from May through September will be materially
smaller th n that in the corresponding period last year, when droi. .
conditions resulted in considerable liquidation of bred sows and spr.i,- -i .

Altheuq h hog slaughter in the summer season is cxpccte-d to be smaller
than that of last year this reduction will be more than offset by larger
stocks of hor: products on hand on May 1 this r than a year earlier.
Consumer donm-nd this summer, however, L .y -be sommwhr-t stronger than last y' -r.

Cons lquntly, in view of the seasonal and perhaps greater than
seasonal r reduction of .. .- slaughter in pros t, it is : ,.O ct .d that '1.,
ricus will advance considerably during the :nxt few months, with the higher
ievo of prices probably beinr fairly wcll mrinintain d during the early fall.


If corn production this year is more nearly normal, the ratio between
hog prices and corn prices probably will be favorable for hog producers next
fall. A favorable ratio doubtless will result in 1937 spring. pigs to be fed
longer and to heavier weights than is usually the case, and thereby cause the
proportion of such pigs marketed before January 1 to be relatively small.
Under these conditions the seasonal increase in hog marketing in the fall will
be less than usual. Such a situation would be quite different from that of
the present marketing year, following the 1936 drc-lht, and also from that
of 1934-35, following the 1934 drought. In both of these years the hog-corn
price ratio was much below average in the fall months, and the proportion
of the spring pig crop marketed before January 1 was relatively large.

E.I..'jRPEAN HOG PC,.--.F LC7.CT 1/

A marked increase in hog slaughter in European countries was reported
in the last quarter of 1936, but during the first three quarters of that year
slaughter was slightly smaller than in the corresponding period of 1935.
Latest census enumerations indicate that hog slaughter in most countries of
Europe will continue large during the first half of 1937. High prices of
feed, generally, in the winter of 1936-37 have tended to curtail hog production,
and some decrease in hog slaughter is expected in the late months of this
year and in 1930.

The quotas for imports of pork in Great Britain are being continued
in 1937 and the'quantity of imports permitted thus far this year has been
slightly larger than that of a year earlier. The United States' share of the
British quota continues to be 8.1 percent of the total imports .from countries
outside the British Empire. In recent months, however, imports from the
United States have been less than the quantity permitted by the quota.
The deficit in United States imports has been temporarily allocated by the
British Government to the other importing countries.

Hog numbers in Germany at the beginning of March were about 3 percent
larger than a year earlier. The increase over a year earlier in March,
however, was smaller than that reported in December. Short supplies and
high prices of feeds along with recent changes in fixed prices for hogs in
Germany are expected to result in some decrease in hog numbers in that
country later this year and next year.

I/ Based largely upon reports from H. E. Reed, Agricultural Commissioner,
Foreign Agricultural Service, Berlin, Germany.


The number of hogs in Denmark at the beginning of 1937 was about the
same as that of early 1936, but in late March 1937 the number was smaller
than at any time since July 1935. Since the number of slaughter hogs in
early 1937 was larger than a year earlier, Danish hog slaughter in the first
half cf 1937 probably will be larger than in 1936. In the last half of 1937,
however, hog slaughter is expected to be smaller than a year earlier.

Hog sl :.-:hter in Poland in 1936 was larger than in 1935 and a further
increase was reported in early 1937. At the end of June 1936 the number of
hogs In Poland was reported to be about 7,055,000 head, which was about 5
percent larger thmn a year earlier. Exports of pork from Poland in 196'-
were larger than in 1935. Bacon and ham shipments to the United Kingdom
comprised the bulk of the Polish exports of pork, although the proportion
represented by shipments of canned hams t- the United States increased greatly
in 1936, Short supplies and high prices of feeds are expected to -heck
the tendency for expansion in hog numbers in Poland during the remainder of
this year. Because of short feed supplies, the Polish Government has
recently placed an embargo on exports of grains until the 1937 crops are

In general, Europe as a whole produces a smaller quantity of h:-
products than is needed for i.,ropean consumption requirements. The increase
in hog production in recent years, however, has reduced materially the need
of Europe for imported pork. On the other hand fat production in Europe is
still considerably short of -.r:)pe's feed for fats. In several countries
increases in hog production have been made possible by larger imports of

In view of these considerations it seems unlikely that exports of
pork from European countries to the United States will ever become very
large, despite the recent increase in imports of hams from Poland. As .'
production in this country is increased to a more normal level with the
return of av .- .re feud crops, a considerable decrease in imports of pork
is probable, and it is likely that the United States will return to a net
exporting basis for pork. If feed crop production in 1937 and 19i3 is about
average, domestic hog sJiaghter in 1939 nd 1940 prob-bly will not le for
belov the average level of slaughter prevailing before the 1)34 drought.


Supplies of hogs and hog products, specified periods

Oct. Sept. : Oct. rar.
: :Mar. : Feb.:Mar. :Average:
Item : Unit :1936 :1937 :1937 :1928-29: 1934-:1935- :1935- :1936-
S: to : 35 : 36 : 36 : 37


Inspected : thou-
slaughter 1/ ....: sands :2,617
Live weight:
Average .......: pounds: 229
Total 598
Dressed weight:
Average .......: pounds: 174 454
Yield of lard per :
100 pounds live :
weight of hogs...: pounds: 12.7
Production of
'lard ............:mil. b.: 76
Apparent consumption-
Pork,incl.lard 443
Lard ..........: : 66
Exports 2/:
Pork ..........: : 5
Lard ..........: : 12
Ini.-.rts of pork 2/: : 3
Proportion of sows:
in inspected
slaughter 3/.....:percent: 45.6

2,842 3,033 46,363 30,680 31,022 15,796 21,859

219 220 231
.623 -666 10,723

164 165
464 499


220 232
6,742. 7,191

175 164 175
8,069 5,012 5,402

11.5 15.2

72 77 1,630





11.6 12.1 11.6 11.5

790 '870 418 541

404 498 -7,171 5,102 5,124 2,437 2,946
48 54 961 730 712 339 375



211 104 69
657 142 101
6 7 32

48.5 51.2 51.3 52.0 47.7 49.1

i/ Bureau of Animal Industry.
2/ United States Department of Commerce. Pork includes bacon, hams and shoulders,
and fresh, canned and pickled pork. Lard includes neutral lard.
3/ Includes gilts.


Prices of hogs and ho; products, specified periods

Oct -Sept : Oct.- Apr.
:Unit :Apr. :Mar.- :Apr. :1928-29:1934- :1935- :1935- :1936-

:1936 :1937 :1937 :, to : 35 : 36 : 36
: : : 1932-33:
:per lcO:

unds :10.20 9.96










: 37

9.64 9.69 9.70
9.90 9.95 9.91

6.48 7.54 9.15 9.09 9.11




Chicago .... ......: :10.47 10.11
U. S. average price
received by
farmers .... ....... : : 9.38 9.17
Prices of hog
Loins, 8-10 lb. :20.97 20.39
Hams,smoked, reg. :
No.1, 10-12 lb. : :25.62 22.95
:,..1 dry cure,
6-8 lb. ......... :30.15 26.95
H.W. tubs ....... :11.90 13.15
Composite wholesale
price of hog pro-
ducts,New York.....: :20.99 20.38
Average price of
No.3 Yellow corn, : Cents
Chic- ........... per bu.: 63 116
Hog-corn price
ratio 2/ :
Chicago .........bushel : 16.6 8.7
North Central
States .........: : 19.2 9.0
Proportion of packing
sows in total packer
and snip :- purchases
seven markets 3/..:percent: 5.0 4.0
Aver-, wei-; at
seven markets .....:pound : 241 227


21.21 20.75 19.13

21.62 26.53 26.86 23.36

28.24 30.86 31.84 27.23

14.29 12.65 13.14 13.11

20.49 21.93 22.31 20.53

135 62 86 74 64 113

7.4 11.6

9.9 14.1 15.7 8.8

7.6 12.9 10.0 15.8 17.9 9.0

5.0 1/

227 1/

/ 16.3 8.0 6.0

S 41 235 21


Average price:

Seven markets ....:pc


N/ Not available.
J ::mb r bushels s of corn equivalent in value tc 100 pounds of live hopgs.
2/ *:on-r;t firir2s comru ted from weekly avI:' es.

H 7-7

PER 100


0/936-37 1935-36

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