Sow slaughter into mid-March is narrowly higher than it was a year ago, according to data from the USDA.
Weekly sow slaughter has come in at just over 60,000 head, with a year-to-date total of 544,000.
“Given that sow slaughter has been tracking similarly to a year ago, hogs kept for breeding in the upcoming March 1 Hogs and Pigs report are expected to be similar to 2022, which was just under 6.1 million head,” the Livestock Marketing Information Center said in an analysis.
“The December-February farrowing intentions from the Dec. 1 Hogs and Pigs report were at 2.947 million head, up 28,000 head or almost 1% from a year earlier. Farrowing may be similar to a year ago given sow slaughter is tracking close to 2022, which would be a signal that production levels may see only marginal changes from last year during the second half of 2023.”
Sow prices have started to decrease after peaking in the $80 per hundredweight range in early August. The price trend is similar to what the market saw in 2022.
“Last year, prices reached a trough in late June in the $40/cwt. area but had a second increase in prices that peaked in early August in the $80/cwt range,” the LMIC said. “At the start of 2023, sow prices hovered in the low $40/cwt. range and by late March had reached into the $60/cwt. area.
“Last week, the sow price was $68.19/cwt., which is below a year ago but following a similar pattern that occurred in 2022.”
Feeder pig prices have struggled to start 2023.
“Early weaned (10-12 lbs.) feeder pig prices started off the year in the low-$60 per head range and have fallen almost every week since mid-January,” the LMIC said. “Last week, early weaned feeder pig prices were $42.84 per head which is down over $22 per head from the same week a year ago. Prices for 40-pound feeder pigs increased the first few weeks of the year to $96.36 per head but then quickly retreated to levels in the mid-$80 per head area.
“Last week, 40-pound feeder pigs were $85.89 per head, well below the $119.89 per head that occurred at this time last year. Seasonally, feeder pig prices move lower during the summer months then increase during the fourth quarter of the year.”