Variation in slaughter weight within the week

I track the carcass weight and weighted average net price as reported daily in the National Daily Direct Prior Day Slaughtered Swine report (LM_HG201) from USDA. This report gives a detailed look at the prior day slaughter numbers, carcass measurements and pricing as reported by packers under mandatory price reporting requirements.

One of the more interesting trends in the data is how carcass weight varies by day of the week. In 2014, the Monday slaughter had the lightest pigs, averaging 213.7 for all pigs reported by the daily report. Slaughter weight increased to Friday/Saturday’s 216.0 lb average carcass weight, a range of 2.3 lb.

Similarly, the variation in carcass weight between packer owned and producer sold pigs increases from Monday to Friday/Saturday. On Monday slaughter, the packer owned pigs averaged 1.2 lb heavier carcasses than producer sold pigs. By Friday/Saturday this difference had grown to 3.0 lb heavier.
As of this morning’s report, the trend continues. Producer sold pigs go from an average carcass wt of 213.3 lb on Monday slaughter to 215.7 lb for Friday/Saturday slaughter. Packer owned pigs go from 218.6 lb for Monday slaughter to 220.1 for Friday/Saturday slaughter. The average carcass weight of all pigs reported begins at 214.6 lb for Monday to 216.8 lb for Friday/Saturday slaughtered pigs, a range of 2.2 lb.

In reviewing a chart of the data, it is remarkable how consistent the variation of slaughter weight is between weeks. While the range of the variation within a week may vary, the Monday to Friday/Saturday pattern almost never varies.

I’ve shared this data with some producer groups and the question always arises – what is the reason for the pattern? I can only speculate but I wonder if Monday slaughter is often the most scheduled day of the week. Producers schedule Monday loads 4-6 weeks in advance and make transport plans, etc for these sites. Sales at the end of the week are often the catch-up loads – pigs were bigger than anticipated so I need to get more sold soon. Slaughter later in the week is because of pigs needing to be sold to meet slaughter weight targets while early week sales are based on pig flow needs.

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