UIIrTED STATES DI.Pi.LTrIr OF AGEIC~ITLT.EE
Bureau of Agricultural Economics
HS-20 June 18, 1938
S .- T HE HO G S I T U A T ION
Steady to higher prices for hogs are ih prospect for the summer
months, according to the Bureau of Agricultural Economics. Marketings
of hogs probably will be reduced seasonally during the next 2 months and
storage stocks of pork and lard are relatively small. The effects of the
reduced supplies upon prices, however, will be partly offset by prospects
for continued weakness in consuior demand for ieatts, Although some
seasonal decrease in marketing from current levels is expected during the
summer, supplies will be larger than the small marketing last summer.
Hog prices rose from mid-May to early June after having declined
almost stradily from early March to early May. For the week ended
Juno 11 the average price. of hogs at Chicago was $8,63, about 75 cents
higher than a month earlier, but nearly $2.50 lower than a year earlier.
The price advance in cent weeks probably was brought about by the failure
of hog marketing to increase as much o.s had been expected earlier alon.'
with the very suall storc'u-. stocks now on hand.
The rcrort of this Buroau on: the 1938 spring pig crop will be
released June 29. On the basis of the estimates and indications to be given
in this report, prospects for supplies and prices of hogs in 1938-39
will be dizcussedl in detail in the July issue of the Hog Situation.
REVIEW OF PWCFIJT LIEbLOPM.1,TS
BAC; 'GR OITD.- Hog prices last summer reached the
highest level in more tjan a decade as a result of
very short supplies and fairly favorable demand
conditions. During the fall 'nd early winter, hog
marketing increased sharply, and consumer and
storage demand for hog products weakened. A
marked decline in hop prices resulted. A moderate
improvement in prices occurred from late January
to early March, with the aver-'ge weekly prices of
hogs at Chicago reaching about $9.40. At the
winter low point in mid-December the Chicago weekly
average was about $7-75. In mid-August however,
before the decline in prices began, the weekly
average was about $12.40.
Hog prices advance in late MaL and early June
Hog prices rose frcn mid-i-.; to early June, aftor having declined almost
stradily from early March to early M:hy. The1 average prico of h.-2!: at Chicago
for the week ended June 11 was $6.63, coapored with about $7.50 in early T,1y.
In early June last year the weookly average ;rice at Chicage was cliihtly
more than $11. Th> rice in prices in recent weeks prcbablywas brou.-ht
about by failure of hog slaughter to increase as much as had been expected
earlier along with the small storage stocks of pork and lard now on hand*
Ho; aL.rkotinys in Ma;,- la-crr thar.n a yar earlier
Ir.-.cted hog zl-.rghter in May totaled 2,585,000 head, slightly
uore than 100,000 head greater than in April and 23 :Lr~ ';lt la.rg:r than in
May last year. The proportion of I d:i:n, sews in the market z pplios
increased seasonally in Nay and June, and partly because of this, avera-e
weights of all hogs marketed increased somewhat. The average wei-ht of
butcher hogs likewise in' reased during *Iay The foll-owii. table givcs the
number, weight, and price of hoCs sla-ghtered under -.:3'ral inspection by
months thus far in r.rl :ci-;.i year, which beoan last October, with cormparable
fi-ur.- for last year.
Inspected slaughter, live weight, and cost to packers for hogs,
by months, October May 1936-37 and 1937-30
1936-37 : 1937-38
S: Live weight Total : :Live weight : Total
.Inspected I : cost :Inspected : cost
Month :slaughter :Average: Total: to :slaughter :Average: Total : to
/ : :packers: / :::packers
SMillion Million Million Million
:Thousands Pounds pounds dollars Thousands Pounds pounds dollars
Oct. ...... 3,492 213 742 70 2,711 225 611 62
Nov. ...... 4,292 211 906 84 3,295 225 741 63
Dec. ...... 4,681 215 1,008 99 3,958 229 906 71
Jan. .....: 3,519 217 765 78 4,201 234 983 78
Feb. ......: 2,842 219 623 61 2,833 228 647 53
Mar. .....: 3,033 220 666 67 2,610 228 594 53
Apr. ......: 2,810 217 611 61 2,462 230 565 47
May .....: 2,099 221 463 49 2,585 2/ 233 2/602 2/49
Oct.-May 3/: 26,767 216 5,785 569 24,655 229 5,649 477
1/ Bureau of Animal Industry.
3/ Totals of unrounded figures.
Stocks of pork and lard on June 1 much sm.allor than year earlier
Storage stocks of pork decreased seasonally in May, but lard stocks
increased slightly as they usually do during the month. June 1 storage
holdings of pork totaled 451 million pounds, about 32 percent smaller
than a year earlier; they were only s lightly larger than on June 1, 1936,
when pork stocks were the smallest on record. Stocks of lard on June 1
were 36 percent smaller than a year earlier. Total storage holdings of
pork and lard on June 1 wore 284 million pounds smaller than a year earlier.
This decrease in stocks is equivalent to the products obtainable from
approximately 1.8 million head of ,i-ogs of average market weight.
Storage hol:lin,-s of pork and lard on th.e first of the month,
: 5-year a Lra 1936-37 1937-38
onth :1929-30 to 1933-L13 37 937-3
11ont h -
: Perk Lard Pork : Lard Pork Lard
: : ; : :
;Mil.lb. Mil.l. Mil. Mill illb. Mil.lb. Mil. b.
Oct. .........: 530 109 362 102 283 73
Jan...........: 565 72 667 146 399 5 54
Apr. ..........: 731 105 756 217 544' 121
May ..........: 733 113 756 209 501 122
June ..........: 722 120 664 194 1/451 1/124
Pork prices rise in May
Wholesale prices of both fresh and cured pork advanced during the first
half of May, and were about steady during the remainder of that nonth and in
early June, Lard prices were fairly steady during May, but the average price
of refined lard at Chic-go was the lowest for any month since July 1934.
In late May prices of fresh pork wore higher than at any time since last
October, but prices of cured pork in :ay-r were lower than in March.
Exports of pork and lard in April larger than year earlier
E:.':orts of pork in April amounting to nearly 7 million pounds, were
smaller than in March but were 1.5 million pounds larger than in April last
year. Although most of the increase in pork exports in recent months over a
year earlier hvas been in cured pork, exports of fresh pork also have been
considerably larger. The quantity of fresh pork exported, however, is still
relatively small, seldom exceeding 1 million pounds per month.
Lard exports in -Xril totaled 15.5 million pounds, slightly smaller than
in March but nearly tnice as li : as in 1.- -.'1 last year. Nearly 11 million
pounds of the April lard cxports -rero consigned to Groat Britain and about
3 million pounds to Cuba.
aIiports of pork into the Unitedi Stat.s .amounted to about 5 million pounds
in April, or about the sime as a year earlier. Tn- April imports, however,
woro considerably smaller than those f March.
The report giving the estimate of the 1938 prrin:- pig crop will
be released on June 29. Prospects for supplies and prices of hogs in
1938-39 will be discussed in detail in the July issue of the Hog Situation
in light of the indications given in pig crop report. So far as can be
determined there has been little change in the hog outlook during the
past month; consequently a brief summary of supply and price prospects
from the May issue of this report is given.
(1) Slaughter supplies of hogs for the remainder of the
1937-38 marketing year, ending September 30, will be larger than those
of last summer. This increase in sl1auhtor, however, will be offset in
considerable part by the decrease in storage stocks of pork and lard
from a year earlier.
(2) Although hog marketing this summer are expected to be
larger than a year earlier some seasonal reduction in such marketing is
probable during the next 2 months. The extent of this seasonal docroase
will be affected by the number of sows and gilts retained for fall farrow.
If corn crop prospects continue favorable, a considerable increase in
the number kept for fall farrow ovur the number farrowing last fall is
(3) On the basis of brooding intentions reported in December
and other indications it appears probable that the 1938 spring pig crop
will be larger than that of a year earlier. If corn crop prospects continue
favorable it is also expected that the 1936 fall pig crop will be larger
than last year. Larger pig crops in 193; will mean that market supplies
of hogs in the 1933-39 marketing : year, beginning next October, will be
considerably --rCcr than in the present marketing year.
(4) Some seasonal advance in hog prices during late summer
appears probable in view of the expected seasonal reduction in marketing.
Prospects for summer market inrs
It was indicated in the May issue of this report that inspected
hog slaughter in the summer season (May-September) might be about
2.6 million head larger than that of last summer. In view of the small
seasonal increase in marketings during May and early June, it is possible
that the increase in marketing this surmcir over last will be somewhat
less than that indicated in Hay. The extent of the increase will depend
partly upon the number of sows retained for farrow. It will also depend
partly upon the volume of marketing of this year' s spring pigs before
Indications as to volume of marketing of spring pigs in the
late summer are somewhat conflicting. In some years, at least, when
corn supplies have been fairly plentiful and the relation of hog prices
to corn prices favorable for folding, spring, pigs have been held for
feeding to heavy weights and have not boon marketed to any great extent
in the late summer. If corn crop prospects this year continue favorable
the relation of hog prices to corn prices also will continue favorable
for hog feeding, and this would indicate relatively small marketing of
spring pigs prior to October. On the other hand it may be that many
farmers, remembering the marked drop in hog prices after mid-August
last year, will attempt to market part of their spring pigs as early as
With present storage stocks of pork and lard relatively small and
with some seasonal reduction in hog marketing expected in late summer,
steady to higher hog prices in the next 2 months are probable. The
effects upon prices, however, may be partly offset by prospects of
continued weakness in consumer demand for meats.
Large seasonal increase in iiarketings expected in the fall
Since it is believed that the 1938 spring pig crop was larger
than that of 1937 and that marketings next fall and winter will be
larger than a year earlier, the seasonal increase in hog nmrkctings in
the fall and early winter probably is expected to be relatively great.
The percentage increase in marketing, however, nay not be so great
as that from August to January last year. It is also probable that
seasonal decline in hog prices next fall will be considerably less than
the sharp drop that occurred last fall.
Prices of hogs and hog products, specified periods
S : : .: Oct. Sept. : Oct.-May
Item : Unit : May : Apr.: May :1928-29:1935-:1936-:1936-:1937-
: 1937:1938 :1938 : to : 36 : 37 : 37 : 38
S: : :1932-33:
Average price: :per 100:
Seven markets ........:pounds :10.56
Chicago ..............: do. :10.73
U. S. average price
received by farmers....:
do. : 9.39
6.48 9.-5 9.66 9.15 8.05
Prices of hog products,
Loins, 8-10 lb. .....: do.
Hams, smoked, reg.No.l:
10-12 lb. ......... : do.
dry cured, 6-8 lb. ..: do.
H. W. tubs .......... : do.
:24.89 19.92 20.22
:12.88 9.35 9.25
17.07 21.21 22.29 19.85 13.61
20.31 26.58 24.65 23.48 23.61
23.71 30.86 28.58 27.25 27.68
9.68 12.65 13.13 13.08 10.23
Average price of No. 3 :Cents
Yellow corn,Chicago ...:per lb.: 135
Hog-corn price ratio: 2/:
Chicago .............:. Bushel : 8.0
North Central States. : do. : 8.0
Proportion of packing
sows in total packer
and shipper purchases,
seven markets ./......:Percent: 9.0
Average weight at seven
markets ...............:Pound :232
59 58 62 74 115 116 58
14.1 14.2 11.6 14.1 9.2 8.7 14.7
16.8 15.8 12.9 15.8 9.5 8.9 17.4
3.0 6.0 1/. 16.0 15.0 6.0 6.0
231 220 239
i/ Not available.
2/ Number of bushels of corn equivalent in value to 100 pounds of live hogs.
/ Monthly figures computed from weekly averages.
111111111 II6 illliiiIll
3 1262 08861 7583
Supplies of ho-es and hog products, specified periods
: Oct. Sept. : Oct.- Apr.
Item : Unit :Apr. : Mar,
:1937 : 193!
Hog slaughter under:
Number : Thou- :
slaughtered 1/ : sands :2,810 2,61(
Apr. :1928-29: 1935-: 1936-: 1936-: 1937-
1938 : to : 36 : 37 : 37 : 38
3 24,621 46,363
31,022 34,142 24,669 22,070
Average .....: Pound
Average .....: Pound
Yield of lard
per 100 pounds :
live weight of :
hogs ..........: Pound
13.3 15.2 12.1 10.9 11.5 12.2
68 78 75 1,630
870 833 610 618
ing lard 2/ :
452 7,171 5,124
59 961 712
Pork ...........: do.
Lard ......... .: do.
Imports of pork /: do.
5 9 7 211
8 16 16 657
69 59 34 49
5 7 5 6 32 72 38 35
Proportion of sows :
in injszct ed
zl-,!;ht.r !4/..... :crcent: 49.3
51.2 51.9 51.1 49.1 47.2
/ Bureau of Animal Industry.
2/ Rir'I..r.Ats apparent Cisr.-a'. rancoro of federally inspected ;crk plus unrcndcrcd
/ United States Department of Cormerce. Pork incljdcs bacon, hams and shoulders,
and fresh, canned, and picklcld pork. Lard includes neutral lard.
i/ Includes gilts.