UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Bureau of Agricultural Economics
S-32 June 19, 1939
F L '----------------------- ---------
'THE HOG SITUATI ON
Some seasonal reduction in hog marketing is expected during the
next few months, according to the Bureau of Agricultural Economics. But
in view of the probable large increase in the 1939 spring pig crop, the
seasonal increase in marketing from the late summer through the fall
months probably will be relatively large. Supplies of hogs for slaugh-
ter probably will continue larger than a year earlier during the remain-
der of the 1938-59 marketing year, which ends September 30, and also in
the first half of the 1939-40 marketing year.
Consumer demand for hog products may improve moderately or at
least hold near present levels during the remainder of 1939.
The livestock and feed situation for 1939-40 probably will be
somewhat different from that of 1938-39. Although it is too early to
give any indication of the size of this year's corn crop, it appears
probable that the production of oats, barley and hay will be smaller in
1959 than in 1938. If the corn crop is no larger than that of last year,
the total supply of feed for 1939-40 will be no larger and may be small-
er than the 1938-39 feed supply. The number of livestock on farms for
feeding in 1939-40, however, is expected to be considerably larger than
in 1938-39. The ratio of hog prices to corn prices, therefore, may not
be so favorable for expanding hog production as it has been in the past
year and a half.
Prices of hogs declined sharply in late May and early June, large-
ly because of the increase in hog marketing. The average price of
butcher hogs at Chicago for the week ended June 10 was about $6.40 com-
pared with $6.90 in early May. Since late February, prices of butcher
hogs have declined about $1.65, and in early June they were at the low-
est level since late 1934.
REVIEW OF RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
BACKGROUND:- The upward trend in hog production, which began
with the increase in the 1938 spring pig crop, has been re-
flected in increased marketing of hogs since the last summer.
Hog prices declined fairly sharply in the late summer and fall
of 1938 but rose moderately in January and February of this
year. Since early March the trend in prices has been downward,
and thus far in the 1938-39 hog marketing year, which began
October 1, 1938, the average price of hogs has been about $1.00
lower than in the corresponding months of 1938. Inspected hog
slaughter has been larger than a year earlier in every month
thus far in the current marketing year, except January.
Hog price decline continues
Prices of hogs declined fairly sharply in late May and early June,
continuing the downward trend that began in early March. The average
price of butcher hogs l/ at Chicago for the week ended June 10 was about
$6.40 compared with about $6.90 a month earlier and $8.80 a year earlier.
Since late February, prices of hogs have declined about $1.65, and in
early June they were at the lowest level since late 1934.
Hog marketing increase in May
The weakness in hog prices in recent weeks was chiefly a reflec-
tion of the increase in hog marketing. Inspected hog slaughter in May,
totaling 3,416,000 head, was nearly 500,000 head larger than in April
and more than 800,000 head larger than in May last year. Marketings of
packing sows as well as those of butcher hogs have increased seasonally
in recent weeks. The increase in the proportion of packing sows in the
total market supply has been accompanied by a greater decline in prices
of heavy hogs and sows than in prices of light- and medium-weight butcher
Hog-corn pricc ratio declines
The drop in hog prices and the rise in corn prices in recent weeks
has resulted in a decrease in the hog-corn price ratio. Based on Chicago
I/ Average price of barrows and gilts purchased by packers and shippers.
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prices for corn and hogs, this ratio was about 12.4 in early June com-
pared with about 13,. in early May and from 14 to 16 during winter. Al-
though the ratio is still above average, it is now lower than at any
time since September 1957.
Pork stocks decrease in May: lard stocks increase
Storage stocks of pork on June 1 were slightly smaller than on
May 1, but they were considerably larger than on June 1 last year. The
Decrease in storage holdings of pork during May this year was much less
than that occurring in May last year. Stocks of pork usually decline
during the summer months.
Storage holdings of lard on June 1 were about 7 percent larger
than on May 1, and they were about 13 percent greater than on June 1
last year. The increase over a year earlier probably reflects the great-
er volume of lard produced this year than last.
Storage holdings of pork and lard on the first of the month,
specified months, average 1933-37, 1937-38 and 1938-39
Pork : Lard
: Pork : Lard : Pork
: million Million Million Million Million Million
S pounds pounds pounds pounds pounds pounds
Oct ... : 415 108 283 73 277 90
Dec. .... : 425 80 307 34 299 74
Mar .... 647 125 585 117 542 125
Apr .... 620 127 544 121 523 129
May .... : 613 129 501 122 527 129
June .... : 584 135 451 124 / 520 1/ 139
Pork and lard exports continue larger than a year earlier
Exports of pork in April of 8.1 million pounds were about 2.8 mil-
lion pounds smaller than in March, but they were about 1 million pounds
larger than in April last year. Most of the decrease in April compared
with the preceding month was in exports of cured pork, largely hams and
Lard exports in April amounted to about 17.5 million pounds, 4.6
million pounds less than in March, but about 2 million pounds more than
in April 1938. Practically all of the decrease from March to April was
in the shipments to Great Britain.
Imports of pork totaled 5.2 million pounds in April, slightly
larger than in March or in April last year.
The most important factors in the outlook for hogs as indicated in
the May issue of the Hog Situation were as follows:
(1) The 1939 spring uig crop probably will be considerably larger
than that of 193g8 Relatively heavy losses of spring pigs were reported in
some areas of the Corn.Belt, and it seems probable that the average number
of pigs snved per litter this spring was not so great as the record high
average of last spring. Any reduction in'the average number of pigs saved
per litter, however, probably was much more than offset by the increase in
number of sows farrowed. (The official estimate of the 19 srrin Dig
crop number of sows farrowed and number of pigL saved will be released
in late June).
(2) With feed supplies generally abundant, it may be that the 1939
fall pig crop also will be larger than that of 1939. Larger pig crops this
year will mean that supplies of hogs for slaughter in the 1939-10 marketing
year, which begins next October, will be materially larger than in the present
hog marketing year.
(3) M.-rketings of hogs during the remainder of the current hog mar-
keting year are expected to continue larger than a year earlier. This in-
crease will reflect.partly the 18 percent increase in the 1939 fall pig
crop over that of l93g, and it also will be due in part to increased market-
ing of packing sows. Sows marketed in the summer are mostly those which
farrowed the previous spring, and increased marketing of sows this summer
will be due to the larger number of sows farrcoid this spring.
(4) Consumer demand for hog products for the entire year 1939 pro-
bably will be stronger than in 1938. But consumer enmand improved somne-hat
in the last half of 1?33 and in early 1939. Only moderate improvement in this
demand front present levels seems likely during the renninf.er of 1939.
Seasonal chan-ges in ho marketings
Some seasonal reduction in hog marketings is expected during the next
2 or 3 months. The extent of this decrease will depend partly upon crop
pros rects this summer and partly upon .fhen the market movement of spring
pigs '3es u.lerw.y. If dr:.'icht conditions should become severe in the Corn
Belt a rather marked liquidation of sows and pigs :-ight occur in the late
summer. On the other hand, if crop conditions are fairly favorable, a lirge
number of sows will be retained for fall farrow,
Last sunmer m.n-ketins of sprinZ pics began in large volume in AuLust,
about a month earlier than usual. Pasture conditions last sumner were very
favorable and feed supplies were abundant; hogs reached market weights
rapidly. This summer supplies of feeds also are abundant, but pasture
conditions are much below normal. Losses of spring pigs that were farrowe
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early were reported to be large. Consequently the proportion of the spring
pig crop marketed before October 1 this year probably will be no larger and
may be smaller than the proportion marketed before October 1 last year, as-
suming average crop conditions during the summer. The number of spring
pigs marketed before October 1, however, is expected to be larger than a
year earlier because of the larger spring pig crop this year than last.
In view of the probable larger spring pig crop in 1939 than.in 1l3;,
the seasonal increase in hog marketings after July or August will be larpe,
probably larger than that of the late siuner and fall of last year.
Livestock and feed situation in 1930c-0 expected
to be different from 1l93-3
Although it is as yet too early for any indication of the size of the
corn crop this year, production of oats and barley, on basis of June 1 con-
ditions, is expected to be'smaller this year than last, The production of
hay in 1939 also is likely to be smaller than in 1938, and the wheat crop
this year will be much smaller than in 1938. Drought during the spring months
has resulted in rather unfavorable pasture and rnge conditions, thereby in-
creasing the livestock feed requirements for feed grains and other feeds.
Even with an average corn crop this year the total supply of.feed for 1939-40
(including carry-over) probably will be no larger and may be smaller than the
193g-39 feed supply.
On the other hand, the number of livestock on farms for feeding in
l339-40 probably will be considerably larger than the number in 1938-39.
It is expected, therefore, that the ratio of livestock prices to feed prices
in 1939-40 will not be so favorable for livestock producers as it has been in
the past 2 years. After having been much above average for about a .ye.r and
a half, the hog-corn price ratio has declined materially during the past 2
months. This ratio in 1939-40 probably will not be such as to encourage a
marked expansion in the number of -igs produced, as it did from late 1937
to the spring of this year.
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Prices of hogs nnd hog products, specified periods
': ': Oct. Sept. :Oct.-May
Item Unit May : Apr.May A rg ,1936-:1937- 1937-:1939-
SUnit :9 :1929-29~
19 1939 :1939 :to : 37 : 38 38 39
Average prie: :per 100:
U.S. average price re- :
ceived by farmers....:
Prices of hog products,:
Loins, 8-10 lb.,...,: do
Hams, smoked, reg, :
No.1, 10-12 lb...,,: do
Bacon, smoked, No.l,:
dry cured, 6-8. b,,: do
H.W. tubs.....,...: do
Average price of No. 3 : Cents :
Yellow corn, Chicago.:per lb.:
Hog-corn price ratio:2:
North Central States.: do
Proportion of packing :
sons in total ncker :
and shipper pFrchases;
seven markets 3_..,,,:Percent:
Average weight at
7.35 6.57 6.39
20,22 17,10 16,60
23,00 21,75 21,30
24,62 20,62 20,20
9.25 7.28 7.50
6.4g 9.66 8,07 8.05 6.96
17,07 22,28 19,68 is,61 16,47
20,31 24,65 23,56 23,61 21,71
23,71 28,58 26,99 27,68 21,70
9.68 13.13 9.90 10.23 7.80
58 49 51 62 115 57 58 49
6.0 5.0 8.0 1/ 15.0 13.0 6,0
247 248 248 1I/
231 246 239 240
Ij Not available.
2? Number of bushels of corn equivalent in value to 100 pounds of live hogs.
3/ Monthly fi.ures compute,. from weekly averages.
Supplies of hogs rand hog products, specified periods
a : : : : Oct.-Sept. i Oct.-Apr.
; : : i Averoao: :
Iten : Unit :Apr. :Uor. :Apr. :1928-29,1936- i1937- :1937-:1938-
S : 1939: 1939: 1939: to : 37 5 3S : 3; : 39
____ : __ :1932-33:
iog slaughter under :
Federal inspection: i Thou-
Number slaughtered 1/, sands :2,462 3,229 2,931 46,363 34,142 34,580 22,070 24,664
Live weight: a :
Average ...........: Pound : 230 230 232 231 221 234 229 229
.Total ............. Mil.lb.: 565 741 680 10,723 7,538 8,089 5,047 5,647
Dressed weight: t
Average ........... Pound : 173 175 175 175 164 175 172 172
Total .............Mil.lb.: 426 564 513 8,069 5,586 6,046 3,782 4,233
Yield of lard per
100 pounds live : a
weight of hogs ....8 Pound a 13.3 13.4 13.5 15.2 10.9 12.4 12.2 13.2
Production of lard iMil.lb.: 75 99 92 1,630 833 1,002 618 744
Apparent con- ,
lard 2/ : do. : 451 550 490 7,171 5,601 5,795 3,374 3,763
Lard .............: do. : 59 73 74 961 756 777 441 556
Pork ................ d. : 7 11 8 211 59 89 49 62
Lard ................: do. t 16 22 18 657 107 208 128 149
Imports of pork 3/ ....: do. : 5 5 5 6 72 57 35 30
Proportion of sows 8
in inspected : a
slaughter 4/ .........:Percent: 47.0 45.9 47.3 51.2 51.1 49.9 47.2 44.9
l/ Bureau of Animal Industry.
2/ Represents apparent disappearance of federally inspected pork plus
unrendered hog fats.
3/ United States Department of Connerce. Pork includes bacon, hams and
shoulders, and fresh carned, and pickled pork. Lard includes neutral
4/ Includes gilts.
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UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
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