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UNITED STATES DEPARTIJEIT OF ACRICLTU RE
Bureau of Agricultural Economics
HS-29 March 18, 1939
__-~ THE HOG SITUAT ION
' US DEFJTOEfrease over a year earlier of nearly 5 million head in the
number of hogs on farms January 1 is another indication of the marked
upward .trend in hog production now in progress. A -ording to the Bureau
of Agricultural Economics, this increase in hog rwrunbcrs will be reflected
in considerably larger hog marketing during the period from April through
September than in the same period last year. A rather marked seasonal
increase in marketing is expected from April through June as the market
movement of fall pigs gets underway in large volume.
On the basis of breeding intentions reported by farmers about
December 1, it was estimated that the number of sows to farrow in the
spring of 1939 would be about 21 percent larger than the number farrowed
in the spring of 1938. Since December the ratio between hog prices and
corn has continued much above average, and feed supplies generally have
been abundant. Consequently, it apprasrs probable that breeding intentions
reported in December will be carried out for the most part, and a large
increase in the 1939 spring pig crop over that of last year is expected.
An increase in the number of pigs raised this spring will mean larger hog
marketing next fall and winter.
The continuation of the upward trend in hog production beyond the
spring of this year will depend to a considerable extent upon the outturn
of feed crops raised in 1939. If the 1939 corn crop is about average,
some further expansion in the number of pigs raised is probable in the
fall of this :,cer -ad p-rhaps in the spring of 1940. Increases in pro-
iuet-ton beyordI present levels, however, may be -on'fincd chiefly to the
WVstern Corn Belt, since this is the only important hoe prc3iucing area
where production is no. -:" atly below the average of the 5 years before
the 1934 drought.
Prices of 1.c -" rose m..oerately fro.. 'rid-J-nuary to late February,
as ].;r market*n~r : wore seasonally redu ed. Some decline in prices, how-
ever, o-'urrnd in early M.r ... For the week Pr.ded March 11, the average
price of butcher .-s at C:.i-ago was $7.75, comrr..red with $7.20 in mid-
January and .45 a year earlier.
.hVI'.:. OF -".::T'. DrTEL F'",;TS
Bac,-rounnd.- T': number of h.-..- .l'.l -.-red in the 1937-38
marketing,: yetr which ended last September was only slightly
lar-. :" than that of if"6-57.? But in the last 5 months (May-
S.-rt. ember) of the 1.',."-38 season, .ls~u ;hter supplies of hogs
were considerably larger than those of a year earlier, as was
the case in the first 3 months of the current marketing year
which '.E r. last October. Marketin,,-s of hog. incr-asr-d
materially from August through December 17-.38, and the weekly
average rri:-- of butcher hogs at Chicago ic-lin-Ld from about
49.65 in late July to about '.15 in mid-December.
Hog prices rise in I t'r: ry
Prices of hogs rose moderately from mid-January to late February
as marketi.--s were seasonally reduced. The ov r..;- price of butcher
h--s at C.i *.-:. advanced from about $".20 for the week ended Jar.uary 14
to about .1.05 for the week ended F:bruary 5. But prices L.. 'lir.cd
slightly i'ring the first 2 weeks of March, and for the week end.Lc March
11 the .v;r:--. e price of butcher hc~s at Chicago was about v7.75.
Frc.. mid-January to the second week of :Hareh last year prices of
butcher hogs at Chicago rose about $1.50, front. $7.90 to $9.4t. The
greater rise in .rires in F., bruary -r, early March 1938 pr.cb'icly was
chiefly the result of the larger decrease in marketircs last year than
this. The .-c.~p-.:t for a considerably i:.-' r slaughter during the
r~.maind.:-r of the market ir.. year than a year earlier also -.y have been
a fa-tor t-rndir.' to ': v. .t a greater seasonal advar..' c in prices than
has occurred irri-.- the past 2 months.
- 2 -
Marketing seasonally reduced in F ru'-ry
Inspected hog slaughter in February totaled 2,890,000 head, which
was about 29 percent smaller than January and only slightly larger than
February last year. In the first 3 months (October-December) of the
present marketing year inspected sluiughter was about 16 percent larger
than a year earlier, reflecting the increase in the 1938 spring pig crop
over that of 1937. But the proportion of spring pigs marketed in the
late summer and early fall of 1938 was larger than usual for that season,
and chiefly because of this, slaughter for the 2 months January and
February was no larger than a year earlier.
Pork: stocks increased seasonally in Febru-ry; lard stocks reduced
Stora-e holdings of pork on March 1 were about 3 percent larger
than on February 1, but they were 7 percent smaller than on March 1 last
year and 16 percent less than the 1933-37 March 1 average. Th- increase
of 17 million pounds in pork stocks from February 1 to March 1 was about
equal to the average increase in this period for the 5 years 1933-37,
but it was smaller than the increase which occurred from F bruary 1 to
March 1 last year.
Stor.i.a, stocks of lard on March 1 were slightly smaller than on
February 1 but they were about equal to the 5-year March 1 average.
At the beginr.in_ of the storage season last November stocks of
both pork and lard were below average. Since November 1 pork stocks have
increased by about the usual amount for this period and lard stocks have
increased by more than the usual quantity. But at the 'cgrinnir.n of
March stocks of pork were the second smallest for that date on record.
In view of the larger hog sl-:u -ht.-r this winter than last, the relatively
small stocks of pork on hand in early March probably reflects a rather
weak dcmar,d for hog products for storage. An important factor responsible
for this weak demand probably is the prospect for a larger slaughter
supply of hogs this summer than last.
Storage holdings of pork and lard on the first of the month,
October-March, average 19.3-37, 1937-38 and 1933-59
Month 193-37 1937-38 1938-39
B nt h : 1933-37
: Pork : Lard : Pork : Lard : Pork : Lard
M:il.b. Mil.lb. Mil. b. Mil.lb. Mil.lb. Mil.lb.
Oct. 415 108 -'3 73 277 90
lTov. 372 83 266 39 252 68
Dec. 425 80 307 34 299 74
Jan. 560 98 399 54 430 107
Feb. 630 118 554 99 526 132
Mar. 647 125 583 117 1/543 1/125
- 3 -
Exyorts-of porl" and lard increase in January
'Er-xport of lard from the United States in January totaling 28.5
million pounds were much l'rer than in Dcce-.ber, and they were the
largest for any month since J0t-:..bPr 1'34. Most of the increase in
1ird excprt' from --- r through January was in the ricir'.ents to Great
Britain. .~Al:toL.u the ;:rge 7r:rt movement reflects in considerable
part the increase in -.. production over a year earlier, the removal
of the duty of 10 percent ad valorem on lard in Great Britain under the
new trade --reement between that country and the United States may have
been an i'.- -'"tant factor' in the recent increase. This 'cree-ent became
effective J :.Jr:- 1, 1 Af-ter the -r-: ssions of the trade agreement
were announced in :'o:erer, it is possible that some shiprments of lard
were Iel:Iyed in Dt:ember in order to take ad..'ar.ta.e of the removal of
the d-ut:y in January.
IrYorts of pork in January totaled 8.4 million Founs, slightly
larger than in L' ._rt-:r and more than 2 million pounds greater than in
January last year. About 1.4 million pounds of the increase over a year
earlier was in cured pork and Er-rcrimately 600,.,:0 pounds was in fresh
Imports of pork in Jan-.uary of about 4 million pounds were smaller
than in December, but they were slightly l .rj.-r than in January last year.
i; ~-btr of h1ucs on farms on Ja-nur 1_, 1939
'ne number cf :-.' s on farms on January 1 this year was est rated
to be about 49,011,:::'0, head "cr..::' i with about 44,218,000 head on
January 1, 1935. The number at the be inning. of 1P9 was the lergest
since January 1, 1'-.4, but it was about 16 percent smaller than the
average of the 5 years before the 1934 drought.
The number of L.o.-s on farms at the be.i -.i-.g of this y:=ar was
Er': water than a year earlier in all regions, except the Western St"-tes,
where no c-r. r o'-urrd. T.. l.;:r--:3t perc:r.tc.-g- increases over a year
earlier were in the South Central Ctates and in the West '.:crth Central
States (''--t ..-m Corr. Belt).
A large part of the decrease in hoc numbers which resulted from
the feed short--..-s Fro.;*.t about by the :'.iuts of 19J4 and 1936
..'.:;rred in the Western cr.r Belt. r.'.rite the large increase in the
.':t-*-rn Corn Belt duri.- the past year, the number in that region on
January 1, i.?'?, was about 36 ;~- .-r.t or 10.3 million head less than the
1920-34 average. The level of hog numbers in the Western Corn Pelt in
the past 5 years has been lower than in *r.y comparable period in the past
In the N:.t North Central St :tes ( 'stern .crn B;lt) the number
of h.'s on January 1 was about equal to the 19'0-J4 aver--e, but in the
North Atlatic, South Atlantic and South Central r,.,Tions the nm-.b' r on
January 1 w-s l:r, r than the 1"'?:-'-4 average.
- 4 -
]Hog numbers in the Southern States (Soutn Atlantic and South
Central regions) are now at a -hftI-.er level than for many years. In
both southern regions, however, numbers are at a considerably lower
level than in the 15 years 1910-24. The ,ccompar .ng table gives hog
numbers on January 1 by regions for the years 1.-53-39 and 5-year
averages for the years 1?10 through 1924.
:,.umber of hogs on farms January 1, by regions, averages
191]-'4, annual 1935-39
S North 3entrcl :;;or h :South :
Year : East : Tot 1 :Atlan- :Atlan- : Soith :Western:United
E&st Wect Total
S: tic : tic :Central: :States
:Tiou- Ticu- Thou- Tlou- Tnoa- T:Iou- Thou- Thou-
:sands sands sards sands sands sands sands sands
1910-14 : 12,067 19,.2.5 31,22 1,962 5,937 11,317 1,978 55,C6G
1915-19 : 13,9C5 22,962 36,9E7 2,269 6,551 12,052 2,667 60,436
192C-24 : 14,"C6 27,077 41,784 1,889 5,??7 10,803 2,604 62,966
1925-29 : 12,779 .9,62 41,041 1,330 4,25 7,750 2,385 56,857
190-34 : 12,918 28,562 41,490 1,164 4,373 8,697 2,4C4 58,118
1935 .....: 9,921 14,616 24,537 1,009 4,'?2 7,716 1,3~C 39,004
1936 .....: 11,C69 16,C3 28,r52 1,094 4,156 7,751 1, 4 42,8"7
1937 .....: 11,776 14,,74 26,450 1,13 4,369 8,309 2,129 42,770
1938 ......: l 15,84 '?,871 1,15 4,625 3,574 2,163 44,218
1939 / .. 12,72 18,239 30,971 1,250 5,001 9,.Z26 2,163 49,011
Some of the important points in the ie.z oit I''1: for this year as
stated in earlier issues of T.e -oi. Situation were:
1. A further marked increase in the 1939 pig crors is expected.
On the basis of breeding intentions reported by farmers about Le erber 1,
1938, it was estimated that the number of sows to farrow in the spring of
1939 would be about 21 percent t--ter than the number that farrowed in
the pi'Ing of 1938. If feed crop production is about ,vmrJe this year
it is probable thst the 19Z9 fill pig crop also will be larger than that
of 1i... It is not unlikely, therefore, that the total pi, crops (spring
and fall crops combined) this year will be about 80 million head or more,
which would be 13 per.-ent greater than the total crop of 1938 'nd about
equal to the 1929-33 average.
2. If the total pig 1ro in 1939 should be as lPrge as 80 million
head, inspected hog slaughter in 1939-40 would total about 46 million heed.
Such a slaughter would be the largest since 1932-33 and would be about equal
to the 1929-33 average.
- 5 -
3. :ro d--finite ir.iication of the probable level of hog prices in
19G?-40 is now pos-ible, but if h.og laughterr in 1939-40 should be about
equal to the 1929-Z2. aver_-e, the slaughter would be about 15 percent
larger than in 1958-39 and nearly 35 percent greater than in 1937-38.
If surii--s zhoul-d be this large in 1939-40, i.og prices in that year would
average lower than in the present year unless consumer demand for meats
and national income shoLI4 increase materially.
The pros p-.t--t f.r hog production and sl-au-1ter have not .-h-nged in
the r--Ft 2 months from the indications given in the foregoing parngrarhs.
Develorrp.r.ts since F- c:-z*ber have been favorable for a rather large increase
in the 1?2- spring pig 'r.". The ratio between hog prices and corn prices
has been much above -ve-re throughout this winter, and feed supplies
gcrr.: -,lly have been n:br.i at. Ccnsc u-ntly, it is expected that, for the
most part, the indication of a material increase in the number of sows to
farrow this spri-.r will be reclizei.
Sulpli-s for the remainder of '19?-.9
The increase over a year earlier of nearly 5 million -.e:id in the
number ':.' -: on farms on January 1, is another inr.ation of the marked
u.:.i tr- ..i in .s'.': production. As h:g on farms January 1 are chiefly
spri- and f.ll ri, s, which will be market;i by the en. of the summer, Fnd
bre--ir.. sc s, 1:5arc numbers of which also will be marketed in the surer,
it is r r.r.,- that 'r.c- slaughter from January through s rt :.ber 1939 will
be materially 1:..-er than in the cor:' sr.diinig period last year.
On the basis cf the average relationship between ...:-- in ho.
numbers on January 1 and ;-T. -Cs in the January-S- pt n3ber i .nsp'.ted hog
slaughter, the latter probably will total about 28 million head this year.
As slaughter in the period from C:tober through December was 11.6 million
.c:a, it seems probable that total ir:pcc ted h-:g slaughter for the 193E-39
marketir.z year which t- .:. last .C't.l-.r will be around 40 million head.
This indication is the same as that given in the J-r.u.ry issue of The Hog
Situation which was based largely on the estimated increase in the 197?
tic crc; over that orf i n'".
April-=i-t.'-: -_ r t.og marketing l'-.r_ r
As alr-s-y indicated, 3l-;L-.ter from J.nu-.r:,'' through Seterter this
yer probably will total around 28 million r.:-c. In the January,-S'ertember
period of 2'.- is-r :ted :l, -r was 24.6 million head. Tntil slaughter
in January and February and '-"rhrs .:r'"h. of this year was no larger thar
a year earlier. Hcr.ci, ra'-tically all the increase over last year is
;T.e ted to occur ro.m April through --tor,.ber. Su.ch a large increase
over a -.-:r earlier after March prnt:tly will mean a rather material season-
al increase in hog marketir.gs during the r-priod frro April thr'"uLh June.
This increase will reflect mostly the increased market movement of fall pigs.
Tr.. fall pig crop last year was about 1i er:rr.t r.".ter than that of 1937,
and it repre-.'.'.'-. a relatively large proportion of the total yearly pig
- 6 -
Prices of hogs and hog products, specified periods
-: -....--.. : : -r : ;..._Q t, Sept, :Oct. -Feb,
t: : eb.: Jen Feb :Average:
Item Unit : 1938: 1939: -193992-29:1936-:1937-:1937-:1938-
: : : 19 to ; 37 : 38 : 38 : 39
M-.3 3 Dellar.
Average price: :
Seven markets.......... :
U.S. average price
received by farmers....
Prices of hog products,
Loins, 8-10 Ib........
Hams, smoked, reg.
No. 1, 10-12 lb.....:
Bacon, smoked, Io.l :
dr- cured, 6-S lb,..:
do :7.74 6.96 7.21
do :16.95 14.76 17.50
do :23.38 21.38 22.12
6.48 9.66 8.07 g.1S 7.12
17.07 22.2S 19.68 17.77 16.14
20.31 24.65 23.56 23.74 21.62
23.71 28.58 26.99 28.84 22.21
9.68 13.13 9.90 10.66 8.01
Average price of No. 3
yellow corn, Chicago...
Hog-corn price ratio: ?./
North Central States...
Proportion of packing
'sows in total packer
and shipper purchases,
seven markets f/.......
Average weight at seven
57 52 48 62 115 57 58 48
:cent : 3.0
:Pound : 239 244 245
1/ 15.0 13.o 7.0 6.0
I! 231 246 235 235
/ Number of bushels of corn equivalent in value to 100 pounds of live hogs.
j] Monthly figures computed from weekly averages.
Supplies of ho;s and hog products, specified periods
: O: Ot. Sept : Oct. Jan.
Sa : : Average:
Item : Unit : an. D J 19 -29:136- :1937- :1937- : 1938-
1`, .13 3 :1939 to 37 : 38 : 38 : 39
.- -- ~ ~ -
EHo slau-hter under :
Federal inspection :
Number :T :
slau.-htered ]J :sands : ,201
Average ..........: ro1 : 23)
Total ............ :Mil. b.: '?3
Av, ra-e.......... Pound 177
Total............ :Mil.lb.: 742
Yield of lard per
100 pounds live
weight of hogs....: Pound : 12.9
Production of lard:Mil.lb.: 127
Apparent cons.: :
Pork, incluiTi : .
lard 2]..........: do :518
La-r .............: do : 60
Pork..............: do : 6
Lard. ............ : do : 20
Imports of pork ~/..: do : 4
Proc.rtion of sows
slLau.!:er_ .......:Percent: 45.4
46,363-34,142 34,53 14l,165 15,613
231 221 2.4
10,723 7,53z 8,089
174 177 175 14
757 715 8,069 5,586
570 5 3 7,171 5,601
83 79 961 756
211 59 :9
657 107 208
6 72 57
51.2 51.1 %4?.9 47.5 44.3
1j Bureau of Ar.i':L Industry.
2/ Represents apparent di Sr.--.rance of fE-lerr.ly inspected -rork plus unreniered
/ United States l_-nartmc.nit of Commerce. Pork i'.lu.es 1-:.:r., hams and shoulders,
and fr:;-., canned, and pickled pork. i.rl incl ..es neutral lard.
4j In-cl'-ie gilts.
- g -
PRICES OF MEDIUM AND HEAVY HOGS AT CHICAGO,
AVERAGE 1930-35, AND 1937-38
POUNDS A ASrBAIMc 102n '2s Trn OQe2CE I
OCT. NOV. DEC. JAN. FEB. MAR. APR. MAY JUNE JULY AUG. SEPT.
NO MARKET ON ACCOUNT OF STRIKE
US. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
EG. 34000 BUREAU OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS
FIGURE I.- THE SPREAD BETWEEN PRICES OF MEDIUM AND
HEAVY HOGS WAS VERY NARROW IN OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER 1938.
SINCE EARLY DECEMBER IT HAS WIDENED SOMEWHAT, BUT IN
JANUARY AND FEBRUARY 1939 WAS NO GREATER THAN AVERAGE
FOR THAT TIME OF YEAR. THIS IS IN MARKED CONTRAST TO
THE SITUATION PREVAILING LAST WINTER, WHEN MEDIUM HOGS
OUTSOLD HEAVY HOGS BY MORE THAN THE USUAL AMOUNT.
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
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