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hogs. pork

Modest Pork Expansion, But Brexit Casts Shadow

The longer-term economic implications of Brexit may be the most important and could reduce the rate of world economic growth. If Brexit does slow world income growth, that could be negative for global sales of pork and other U.S. agricultural products.​​

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Hog Profits – Battle Between Higher Hog Prices and Higher Feed Prices

Two important factors determining margins this year are the potential for higher pork exports and thus higher hog prices and the potential for higher feed prices. These are tugging at margins in opposite directions.

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Fewer Hogs and Higher Prices

The nation’s pork producers have indicated to USDA that they are not expanding the breeding herd and, in fact, intend to reduce farrowings this spring and summer. This means pork supplies will be somewhat less than had been anticipated and that hog prices will be somewhat higher.

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Pork Industry – A Little Profit for 2016

The outlook for the pork industry has turned somewhat more optimistic in recent weeks. The sources of that optimism include a $2 to $4 increase in spring and summer lean hog futures prices since the first of the year and slightly lower new-crop soybean meal prices. A bit higher hog prices and a little lower cost add to the potential for a profitable year.

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Pork Industry Faces Tight Margin Year

Pork producers in 2016 are expected to experience another year of tight margins similar to the year just completed. Pork production is expected to rise by about one percent, but beef production will rise by four percent and poultry by about three percent.

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Hog Prices Drop to 6 Year Lows

Live hog prices fell below $40 per hundredweight last week. This means hog prices are at their lowest level since November of 2009 when the U.S. was just beginning to pull off the bottom of the great recession.

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Limited Pork Expansion

The pork industry has largely overcome the impacts of the 2014 PED virus. Pork producers have been disciplined in limiting expansion after record 2014 profits.

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Lower Pork Costs Also Driven by Lower Meal Costs

Soybean meal is an important but an “economically” secondary feed ingredient in hog diets compared to corn. My estimates suggest that soybean meal costs have been about 22 percent of the total costs of raising hogs over the past decade, compared to 32 percent for corn.

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Higher Feed Costs Could Mean Pork Industry Losses

Weather damaged corn and soybean fields are also harmful to hog producers. Rising feed prices mean higher costs of production for the pork industry. Recent higher corn and soybean meal prices have increased anticipated hog costs by about $10 per head.

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Pork Industry Continues to Adjust from PED

The pork industry continues to adjust from the supply shock created by the PED virus last year. Live prices peaked in the summer of 2014 as PED losses mounted and then fell into the late winter of 2015.

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