by Ron Plain and Scott Brown
The June hog inventory survey says the breeding herd is up 1.0% compared to a year ago and the market hog inventory is up 0.8%. USDA says spring farrowings were even with a year ago and forecast summer and fall farrowings to be down 0.9% and down 1.3%, respectively. In general, USDA’s numbers are slightly more bullish than the pre-release trade forecasts.
Hot, dry weather continues across the country. USDA says only 56% of the corn crop was in good or excellent condition on June 24. That compares to 63% good or excellent the week before and 68% a year ago. The Crop Progress report says 53% of the soybean crop was rated good or excellent on June 24 compared to 56% a week earlier and 65% a year ago. Nationally, 34% of pastures were rated poor or very poor on June 24. That compares to 28% poor or very poor the week before and 26% a year ago.
The prospect of lower yields per acre is being partially offset by more acres. USDA’s June Acreage report says farmers will plant 96.405 million acres of corn this year. That is 0.6% more than the March forecast, 4.9% more than last year, and the most corn acres since 1937. They are forecasting that harvested corn acres will be up 5.8% from last year. USDA also raised their forecast of 2012 soybean acres by 2.9% and wheat acres by 0.2% in the Acreage report. They now predict 2012 soybean harvested acres will be up 2.3% from last year and wheat acres harvested up 8.4%.
Corn futures traded sharply higher this week with the 2012 corn futures contract ending the week up 70 to 80 cents from the week before. December corn settled at $6.3475/bu.
Hog prices dropped this week. The national average negotiated carcass price for direct delivered hogs on the morning report today was $95.29/cwt, down $4.69 from last Friday. The eastern corn belt averaged $95.08/cwt this morning. Neither the western corn belt nor Iowa-Minnesota had enough early morning sales for a price quote. Peoria had a top live price this morning of $63 and Zumbrota had a live top today of $65/cwt. The top for interior Missouri live hogs Friday was $71.25/cwt, down 75 cents from the previous Friday. After four weeks of increases, USDA’s Thursday afternoon calculated pork cutout value was $96.15/cwt, down $2.31 from the previous Thursday, but 3 cents higher than this week last year.
After being below year-earlier for two weeks, hog slaughter this week totaled 1.999 million head, up 2.3% from the week before and up 2.0% compared to the same week last year. Barrow and gilt carcass weights for the week ending June 16 averaged 202 pounds, down 1 pound from the week before, but up 1 pound from a year ago. The average barrow and gilt live weight in Iowa-Minnesota last week was 271.4 pounds, down 0.7 pounds from a week earlier, up 3.2 pounds from a year ago, and above year-earlier for the 31st consecutive week.