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UN CITED STAT DEP.RTI.'T, OF AGRICULTURE
Bureau of Agricultural Econonics
HS-15 January 19, 1938
, :..---. T H E HO G S T UAT I ON
Some advance in hog prices in the next few months is expected by
the Bureau of -'.,ricultural Economics in view of the probable seasonal
reduction in slaughter supplies of hogs in the late 'winter and early
spring and the present small storage holdings of pork and lard. The
supply of il.s for slaughter next summer probably will be materially
larger than the small supply of last summer, and the average price of
hogs in the summer months is likely to be lower than the high level of
prices last summer.
The 19.37 fall pig crop was estimated to be only slightly smaller
than that of 1936, but the combined spring and fall pig crop of 1937 was
more than 3 million head smaller than that of the previous ye'r. Because
of the effects of short feed supplies uoon the distribution of hog
marketing, slaughter in the marrketing year 1936-37 was rather small in
relation to the 1936 pig crop. ith feed production in 1937 much larger
than in 1936, it is probable that the number of hogs slaughtered under
Federal inspection in the current marketing year (October 1937 thr7..hI-
September 1938 will be nearly as c.r .. as in 1936-37. Average weights of
hozg marketed in 1937-38 will be much heavier than in the preceding
The December 1937 Pig Crop Report indicated that the number of
sows to farrow in the spring of 1930 would be about 5 percent larger than
the number that farrowed in the spring of 1937. This indicated increase is
considerably smaller than had been expcctAd in view of the present low
level of hog production, the 1-'r.. feed supplies, and the high hog-corn
price ratio in recent months.
After declining sharply from mid-August through November, hcg i-rices
weakened further in December. HMost of the decline in recent weeks, however,
has been in prices of heavy weight hogs. The price of hogs ;'iahing around
300 pounds is now about $1 lower than the price of ':. -. ":c-ilin,
about 200 pounds. Ordinarily at this season of the year there is little
difference between prices of light and heavy hogs.
The marked decline in prices of hogs since mid-August reflects
(1) the much largor-than-usual seasonal increase in sl i-liter supplies of
hogs in the fall and early winter; (2) the w:eakening in the demand for
meats and lard since last summer; and (3) the weaknesss in storage demand
for hog products, which in turn reflects the prospects for lar -.r supplies
of hogs in the late spri.. and summer of this ',.;ar than year earlier and
a continued weakness in consumer demand for meats during the next few
RETIEJ 0f RiECEl T )DEV_-.I'. ..TS
Further w oakness in i- prices in Doc nbcr
Hog prices continued to w oaken during Deccibeor, following the mark.
decline froi.i August through Nove'iber. The drop in prices during the month,
however, was mostly in the price of heavy hogs. Hogs weighing over 250
pounds are now selling at substantially lower .prices than hogs jci;_,hi
fror 180 to 220 pounds. Usually at this time of year the prices of heavy
weight hcgs are as high as, or high-r than prices of medium and light weight
hogs (sco figure 1 at the end of this report). The nmark'ed discount in
prices of heavy hogs in recent oeeks reflects the relatively' large
proportion of such hogs in the s1 '!:hter supply and to some extent the
current low prices for lard. Also, since the proportion of products from
heavy hogs ordinarily placed in storage during the winter is larger than
the proportion frio light weight '.: ;s, the weak storage demand for hog
products thus far in th- current season may have affected prices of heavy
hogs to a greater extent than it has affected prices of light -.
H.: slaughter increases in Deccrror
The average price of hoc.c for Dccembe.r at Chicage was $7.90 per 100
pounds, co:.!u'red with $8.64 in Novcru,.r oan $9.96 f r Decmcober last year.
The lower average price in Docc:bi-r than a year earlier w.as chiefly the
result of the wea-cr ccnsu.eor and storage deniand for hog products.
Inspected hog slaughter in Dccaboer, totaling 3,953,000 head, was about
15 percent sraeller than that of Decenber 1936. The seasonal increase in
hog slaughter front August through December 1937, hc'ever, was .:uch greater
than aver-ge. The percentage increase was the largest on record for this
period. Inspected slaughter in Deccerber was about two and one-half tines
larger than that of August, whereas it is usually less than twice as largo.
The large seasonal increase in hog slaughter since last summer has been an
important factor in the sharp decline in hig prices in recent months.
Ucakor demand for hog products
The drop in hog prices from the high level of about $13 last sui.cner
also was caused partly by the f.-lli -off in ccnsumnr dce.and for moats,
the much weaker storage demand for hrg products in recent months than a
year earlier, and the increase in supplies of cottonseed il fton the
record cotton crop of 1937.
The weaker storage demand for hog products in the fall cf 1937
reflects the prospects for larger slaughter supplies of hogs in the late
spring and su.in'r of 1938 than a year earlier and for continued weakness
in consumer demand for meats. In the fall of 1936 the storage dorand
for hog products was unusually strong since incom--s of consumers were then
increasing, and relatively small narlktings of hogs in the su;.ior of 1937
Storage holdings of pork and lard, specified periods
Pork : Lard
Date :Average: : :Average: :
:1930-34:19'7-37:1937-: ':1930-34:1936-37 : 1937-38
:Llillion Million Miiilion millionn millionn Million
:Lounds pounds rounds pounds pounds pounds
':v. i .......: 434 355 266 70 95 39
Dec. 1 .......: 463 463 307 63 139 34
Jan. 1 .....: 565 667 /398 72 146 1/53
Increase in store. stocks smaller than average in November and December
January 1 stocks of pork totaled only about 393 million pounds, the
second smallest for that date on record. Stocks of lard on January 1 also
were much below aveora~,. Usually stocks of pork increase materially fr':m
INovember throu -' February mand Larch, since slaughter su: lies of ho's in
those months are larger than in other seasons of the year. Thus pork is
stored in the ':inter to be moved into consumption the following sunm:er
From IIovember 1, 1937, to January 1, 1 -3 pork stocks increased
only about 50 percent, whereas in the sa:m period last year the increase
was nearly 90 percent. The larTe increase in -.tur :lies of hogs
since August, thurcfore, has loen accom: anied by a considlrabl i increase in
the volume of hoG products n ,v.,d into domestic cons umti.n. The apparent
consumption of federally ins:.ct d pork, includir.O lar., in Dce-mber wes
about poercunt larger than in A- :.t, .hrcas consui:..ticn in December is
usually only about 4 percent lar ger than in A.. .t. Althou -h in-: ted .
slauhter in Dc cumber was 15 Irc nt smallS r than that of a year earli r,
the cent consumption of federally inseccted hc :ed'oucs for the month
was .-.:. '"y lar--r than in : -ccrmbr 1 3b chiefly bcc .us of thu much
sm-.llr stora;' accumulations in late 1937 than a yea r r ir.
Production and consumption of federally inspected pork,
include i.g lard, by r..onths, August D,.-cenbcr average
1929-33, annual 1936 and 1')37
Production : Consumption
th average: : :ver.- :
:nt 1929-33: 1936 ; 1937 :192--33: 1936 1937
:Million MIillion Million iAllion 111 .on Lillicn
:pounds pounds pounds p c.unds pounds pounds
Aug. .......: 512 403 75 4722 408
Sept. .......: 528 396 341 607 456 465
Oct. .......: 593 547 452 666 :549 484
Nov. .......: 696 669 549 627 34 1/ 494
Doc. .......: 318 751 1/667 610 502 1/ 530
1 P7telimin ary.
Pork and lard prices roduccd in Dc:c'obcr
Wholesale prices of fresh pork declined during Loceimber and prices
of cured :ork and lard also weakened slightly. Prices of most cuts of cured
and fresh pork in Dcconber 1937 ':erc from : to $3 per 100 pounds lower
than the corresponding month of 1936. The average price of refined lard
at Chicago in December was nearly $4 lower than a year earlier and was
the lowest for any month since August 1934. The lower prices for pork
and lard reflect the larger movement of hog Iroducts into consumption and
the weaker consumer demand than in December 1936. Prices of lard in recent
months also have boon affected bythe much larger supplies of cottonseed
oil available in 1937-38 than in 1936-37.
Supply of cottonseed and cottonseed
:Cottonsed : Crude
: : production
: 1,000 Miillion
: tons pounds
1936............ : 5,511
oil in the United States,
: .. 1 of crude
S 2/ oil 3/
Bureau of the Census.
Refined ?nd crude oil, in terms of crude.
Production and stocks on August 1. Computed from
Computed on basis of 863 pounds of seed per bale
from a cotton crop estimated Docemrber 3, 1937 at
18,746 million bales.
Corn prices rise; hog-corn price ratio reduced in Decreber
Corn prices rose steadily during Dcccnmber, the price of No. 3 Yellow
corn at Chic for the month averaging about 56 cents per.bushel compared
v'ith 53 cnts in iJovemrber. Since the rise in corn pric s v:as c: .nied
by a furtbe r decline in the rice of hcgs, the ho--corn price r-tio in
December 'as lower than in thle oprcc i.. month. Dosed on aver -.. prices for
corn and he s at Chicago,-thl ratio in Dco:.eber v;:.s 14.1 c .red :ith 16.2
in Nov.mb.r and 9.3 in Dec ,:beur 1S36. The lon1-ti:e avwr6 -corn price
ratio b'sd Kn Chicagr pric-s is ab(cit 11.4. The mr-C- fav rbl r .tio
beotveen h;i; rics iad corn prices than in ]73 accounts chiefly for the
heavier :v r 4.7e *:.i: hts of in Noveoiber id oceombir th .n r. yc:r earlier,
Because of the wide .v :rod no ; rev ilin; bLet:.cn prices of 11 -'t
and he.vy h. ,, tli r.ti' of ', price s to corn prices bsed n aver
prices of corn :nd cf rall wi : of he -:. has been loss signific-r.t in recent
*:ceks than it usunl.!y is. In th- l-st ::eek of Dece:.br th. r ati betwv:en
the pri o f Jf to 220- found he ., and the price of cor:: t Chic- .has
14.)9, :hiil the r-tio b *t.-tcn the price of t -' und s tIhe
pric of corn ';r.s 12.5.
Hog-corn price ratic, November and Doccm.ibr 1936 -nd 1937,
and week endod January 1, 193)
: Ratio based on prices at Chicago of o1103
TO Yolow corn and
Yer : .dium weight cavy ;,-oiht hoes
and ionth :
og, 250 to :290 to
: 20) to 220 pounds :290 pounds: 350 pounds
Nov. .....: 9,1 9.2 9.1
Doc. ......: 9.4 9.5 9.5
Ncv. ......: 165 16.3 16.0
Dec. ..... 1l..7 14.0 13.6
Weok onded -
Jan, 1 .... 14.,0 13.0 12.5
Lard and pork exports increase in N"ven.bbor; poork imports reduced
:.: rts of lard in Novcembcr totaling about 18 million pounds, were
about the sa:e as in October, but they woro mi:ore than double those of
Novoribcr 936. As coi.parod with a year ecrlicr iost cf the increase
occurred in the shiprcnts to Groat Britain and Cuba. Exports of pork in
Novc ber, totaling nearly 8 million pounds, wore 3 millionn pounds larger
than in Octsobur cand 1 Lillion pounds larger than in Novo-ubcr 1936.
Imports c p-rk in Niovembur were considerably s-.ailcr than in October,
alti.i. .they continued largor than a year earlier. For the first tiLo in
several r.cinths, pork imports wore sr.ollor than pork exports.
The outlook for supplies of ho'es fcr the 1937-38 marketing year,
which began October 1, has n-t changed greatly since issuance of the annual
Hog Cutlook Report in early Iovcabur. Threo are, however, scrnc indicate ns
that inspected slaughter in 1937-30 will be creator than the estimate -f 32
to 33 milli-n head, given in the Olutl k Report. Pr-spective consumer
donand for h-g products, h'-wver, nrw -ppears less favorable than in early
Novo-ber. A r.arked decline in industrial activity and onploynent has
already occurred, and it is expected that incoe.-es f c-nsuners in 1933
will be 1-wcr than in 1937.
It now seems probable, that the total live weight of inspected l'. ;
slaughter in 1937-38 will be -as large as, or lar-..r than that of 1936-37.
Heavier aver;. weights of hogs in the current marketing year will offsAt,
or more than offset, any decrease in the number marketed. Hence, -;ith
a weaker consumer demand for hog products in prospect, the average price
of hogs for the current marieting year is exp..ct-d to bc lower than the
average of about $10.15 for 1936-37. In both November .nd December hog
prices aver: -. 1 lover than a year earlier, largely duo to the prospects for
fairly largu supplies of hogs next summer and continued weakness in
consumer deiiand, as well as to current conditions of supply and demand.
Fall pig_crop in 1937 slightly less than in 15 .:
According to the Deconbar 1 Pig Crop Report, th, 1937 fall pig crop
-as estimated to be about percent smaller t han that of 1936. Altho.-
the fall pig crop last y er ;ias larger than that of either 1934 or 1935,
it was 17 percent less than the 1929-33 av, rg.c. The combined sprin- and
fall pig cr p of 1937, estimratd at sli htly more than 62 million head,
v;ss about 5 percent smn lcr th'.n that of 196 and 22 perc:..t smaller than
the 1.29-33 average. Practically all the decrease of more than 3 million
head in the total pig crop ccurred in the ,est North Central States.
Pig crop and inspected hog slaughter, avr : 1 -.-33,
Pig cro: : Inspocted -
Yar : North : slaughter,
J niti Central : b ri ..:.
tts : ates : Oct. /
:Thousands Thous nds Thous:ndst
j.-33 ...... 6 ,187 4
r..4........ .... 56,766 4 ,4,4" -
i ...... ....... : .13 3,015 31 ,0
196..... ........: 652,339 441. "4.3
19 '31........... 6 227 41,' '5
I! / 're'.j cf .1in.a l1. "dstry.
The number of hogs sl,. ;:-'utcred unicr Fdceril inspection in the 1937-38
marketing year probably will not show a reduction as large as the estimated
docr-caso in the 1937 pig crop, .and it is possible that the number slaughtered
in 1937-?) will be as large -s in 1'36-37. This situation arises partly
because of the effects of the 1936 drought on the distribution of marktings
of 1936 pigs as bati-eon the 1935-36 and 19`3-37 marketing years. Slaughter
in 1935-36 was largo in relation to the 1935 pig crop bOecuse of the
liquidation of hoes and pigs from drought areas during the last 3 einths
(July September) of the marketing year. Also partly because of he vy
markotings in these 3 months, of hgs and pigs which norL..ally would have
gone to market in the early part of the 1,')-37 year, slaughter in 1936-37
was small in relation to the 1936 pig crop. 31 ughter in 1936-37 also
was reduced because of the siall markotings of 1937 pigs in that year and
because of the carry-over of ctncr hogs into 1937-30 that normally would
have been marketed earlier.
Inspected hog slau-hter in the first 3 months of the present marketing
year (October December) totaled nearly 10 million head, which was about
2.4 i1 llion head s1mller than in the corr .-.:li:.- months of 1936-37.
Altho. 1,i the bulk of the October Deccnb r marketings wore 1937 spring pigs,
reports as to average weights indic-te th .t the number of old crop hogs
included was unusually large. The high hog-corn price ratio in recent months
probably has caused producers to delay .markting-s of spring pigs for feeding
to heavier weights. This is indicated by tho fact that the number of hogs
over 6 months of age in th_ Crrn Balt -,n Decr.mbr 1, 1937, was ostiiated
to be slightly larger than a year earlier, even though the 1937 spring pig
crop in that aora was 10 percent smalller.
In view, of this tenLency to delay r:-rketings before the end of 1937,
it sees proba'ble that market supplies of sprin- pigs from January through
April 1933 :ill be at least as large as those nf a year earlier. Slaughter
supplies i- the l-ate wint er ad early spring last ycar, however, included
a relatively larg number of 1936 fall pigs which w.,re marketed early to
avoid high feed costs. The number -f fall pigs marketedd in the next 3 or 4
-months is expected to be relatively small, since oi r prices of corn aind
other feeds in comparison with the price of hogs, -:ill encourage producers
to hold fall pigs until after April. Consequently, slaughter during the
Janu-ry April period in 1938 may bc no larger than that of a year earlier.
Seasonal advance in hog prices probable in late w-intcr or earlyy spring
If inspected slaughter from January through April is no iarger than
in those mnn'ths of 1937, a seasonal decrease in slaughter supplies of hogs
after January :may be expected. With storage st acks now relatively small,
the total supply of hog products for the late winter and spring probably
will be less than that cf the saL.e pried last year. Thus, unless consumer
demand for meats becomes more unfavorable than is now expected, some seasonal
advance in hog prices is likely to occur within the next few months.
Larger supplies of hogs oxpocted ncxt sui ::or
Although the 1937 fall pig crop was sli htly sa-illr than that of
1936, the proportion cf fall pigs marketed in the su~r.or -f 1938 will be
iu.ch larger than in the su,:.;uir of 1937. A lar-g nuAbur of pigs from
the 1936 fall crop wore c.;arkleted in the late winter and sprin cf 1937,
and a fairly largo number wero r.arketed in the fall cf 1937, aft r being
finished. on the now crops -f suall grains and corn. With feod supplies
i.uch lar-er and feed prices considerably lower this year than last, it
is expected that the bulk of 1937 fall pigs will be r.arkcted during the
late spring and su...;or of 1938 cftor a ncr:.ial feeding period. Thus, it
sec:.is probable that inspected hr slaughter in the period frc:.; Mlay
through Scptoibor this year will r.,ateria:lly exceed that of last su;::cr.
;'ith I <:r supplies expected and with pr slpects for snr..cwhat loss
fa.vorbbl, consumer demand, hog prices during the coming su:.Imer probably
will average lower than the relatively high level of prices in the summer
Avjrage weights of hours to be heavier than in 1 936-37
Chiefly because of the large supplies of corn and other feeds in
relation to the number of livestock on hand, the ratio between h: : prices
and corn prices has been above average in recent months, and this hi:h
ratio has encouraged farmers to feod hogs to heavier rightsts. The aver'..:
weight of ho-s in the seven leading markets in iDecember rwas 233 pounds
compared with 213 pounds in December 19-'. In a preceding section of
this report it was indicated that the spread boetcan prices of 200 to 220
pound hogs and prices of h s w;cighing ov r 250 pounds was unusually wide.
The ratio of prices of heavy hogs to prices of corn is now considerably
lower than the ratio between prices of li ht hogs and prices of corn.
It is possible that because of the unusually large price discounts for
heavy ho :s farmers ::ay not fatten hoss to icavy .,i hts as itey have in
other y,;ars when the hog-corn price ratio vwas relatively i 1',.
Sm:1.li incrraso indicate ed ini so:s to farro:: .next ::i
On thi: basis of brec,'i : intentions r eorted about D .c:mber 1, it
as indicated in the ctcemb dr Fir Crop R ;port that the numb-r of s:ows to
farro; i i th sprin-: of 19330 ill be about: 5 crcxnt larger t1:n thr number
tha f.ar:ro:w in the spring of 137 For thi Corn B lt thi indicated increase
was -bo~'t 7 p:rc..;nt. Thcs indicate. incr..r:s s are considerably zmalilr
h~a hyL bn a xpectod, in viw of thI eresant low 1 vi 1f h' production,
thl L rgi fed suppsli-s, and thi rclativeiy hi h hog-corn price ratio in
Surplies of hC s and ho: products, sp ci-fiud perids
O:ct. Cpt. : Oct.-Nov.
: Av. : : : *
Hog slaughter under .
..i. -l inspection-. :
Number : Thou-
.slaughterod 1/...: sand-s :2,292
Live ivig-ht -
Average .......: Pound : 211
Total..........:Mil. b. 906
Average .......: Pound : 1r6
Yiuld of lard per :
100 pounds of live:
S-il.t of hogs ...: Pound : 11.4
lard ............. :Mil 1 lb.: 103
Apparent cons. -
Pork,inc uding :
lard 2.....: do. :534
Lard ..........: do. 7
Imports of p /rk /3 :
Proportion of sows in :
inspected slaug1ht r 4/:Prcrnt: 49.8
: 19 :
36 : 37 : 37
2,711 3,295 46,363 31,022 7,142 7,783 6,006
225 225 231 232
611 741 10,723 7,19.1
59 35 1,630 o70
221 212 225
7,533 1,649 1,352
164 157 167
5,536 .1,216 1,001
484 494 7,171 5,124 5,602 1,083
73 73 o56 712 757 156
1/ Bureau of Animal Industry.
2/ Represents apparent disappearance cf federally inspected pork plus unrendered
3/ United States Department of Commerce. Pork includes bacon, hams, and
shoulders, aad fresh, canned and pickled pork, Lard includes neutral lard.
4/ Includes gilts.
51.2 52.0 51.1 51.0 50.7
Prices of hogs and hog products, specified periods
i. : Doc. :
Average price: :por 100:
Seven markets ...:pounds : 9.73
Chicago ..........: do. : 9.96
U. S. average price :
received by farmers: do. : 9.09
Prices of hog
products, Chicago: :
Loins, 8-10 lb. : do.
Hams, smoked reg.
No.l, 10-12 lb.: do.
Nc.1 dry cured,
6-8 lb. ....... : do.
H.'.7. tubs .....: do.
Aver : price of No.3: Cents
Yellow corn,Chic : per Ib:
Hog-corn price ratio:
States ........: do.
Proportion of packing
sows in total pocker
and shi ,r
markets 3/ ........ :Purcnt:
Aver v;:eight at
seven markets .....: Pound :
Oct.- Sept. : Oct.-Doc.
Nov. : Dec. :192-29:1935-:1936-:1936-:1937-
1937 :1937 : to : 36 : 37 : 37 : 38
0.25 7.54 6.48
9.15 9.66 9.00 8.52
21.21 22.29 18.13 18.82
26.58 24.65 23.40 23.92
30.86 ::o.58 27.19 29.71
12.65 13.13 12.91 11.05
53 56 62 74 115 1C6 58
14.1 11.6 14.1 9.2 9.1 15.2
15.8 9.5 9.4 18.4
16.0 15.0 8.0 10.0
231 233 1/ 241 231 211
_/ Not available.
Siur of bushels of corn equiivalent in value to 1
_/ oInt hiy fi urcs cCmluted from:n okly aver- 3s.
t0 pounds :' live :. *"s.
PRICES OF MEDIUM AND HEAVY HOGS AT CHICAGO.
AVERAGE 1930-35, AND 1936 TO DATE
DOLLARS I I I
PER 100 I 1 1 I
POUNDS AVERAGE 1930-31 TO 1935-36
a8 ----- -- -- -- -- -- -- -
7 200-220 pounds do '"
6 --- -- Heavy weight,
S**" 290-350 pounds
,3~~~~~ ~ --- -- -- -- -- --- -y -
12 Medium weight.
12 200-220 pounds A S
t J290-350 pounds
11 __ Medium weight,_
\. 290-350 pounds
OCT. NOV. DEC. JAN. FEB. MAR. APR. MAY JUNE JULY AUG. SEPT.
U, S DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
NEG. 34000 BUREAU OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS
FIGURE I- THE DECLINE IN PRICES OF HEAVY HOGS IN RECENT
MONTHS HAS BEEN SOMEWHAT GREATER THAN THE DROP IN PRICES OF
LIGHT AND MEDIUM WEIGHT HOGS. THIS REFLECTS THE INCREASING
PROPORTION OF HEAVY WEIGHT HOGS IN THE TOTAL SUPPLY AND THE
RELATIVELY GREATER DECLINE IN PRICES OF LARD THAN IN PRICES
OF PORK. ORDINARILY, IN LATE FALL AND EARLY WINTER, PRICES
OF HEAVY AND MEDIUM WEIGHT HOGS ARE ABOUT THE SAME; BUT IN
DECEMBER AND EARLY JANUARY 1937-38, PRICES OF HEAVY HOGS
WERE ABOUT $1 LOWER THAN PRICES OF LIGHT HOGS.
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
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