Yesterday, USDA reported that the average live weight for Iowa and Southern Minnesota barrows and gilts for the week ending on September 24 (NW_LS720) was 280.0 lbs, down 1.6 lb from the previous week. Many commentators have noted this decline and have been speculating about whether the decline is an indication that producers have been aggressively pulling pigs forward in the face of rapidly declining bids.
I’m not convinced that this pull-forward is happening. I track the National Daily Direct Hog Prior Day report (LM_HG201) and there is no indication in that report of lighter weights. Last week, the weighted average carcass weight of all barrows and gilts was 209.9 lb, up 0.4 lb from the previous week and 0.5 lb from 2 weeks earlier. It appears that this week’s average weight will exceed the previous week’s averages.
Thus, when viewed across the spectrum of all barrow and gilt supplies weights appear to be following historic fall increases, even as prices continue to fall.