The optimism is gone from the feeder pig market. Cash SEW pigs this past week averaged only $22.95 per pig as quoted by USDA. The lowest quoted price was $16 per pig. This is 50% of the $32/pig low the last week of March.
One reason for the lower price is the expectation of continued high feed ingredient prices. With another week of delayed planting due to rain, it’s becoming tough for pork producers to believe that corn prices will decline very much with the new crop this fall.
Between now and next fall, there appear to be plenty of pigs for packers. We still are killing very close to 2 million pigs per week. I’m getting reports from producers who were hit by PRRS this past winter that sow unit performance is really good now and they are all looking for extra space for a turn of pigs this summer. This suggests big numbers this fall, at least from the Iowa and Southern Minnesota market area.
On Tuesday of this past week many locations in northern Iowa and southern Minnesota set all time record highs, with Algona, IA hitting 99F. I’ve seen feed intake records from several barns from that day with many barns crashing to less than 50% of the intake on Monday. Just a reminder that more days like this will begin arriving meaning that our preparations for summer heat relief need to be in place. With more and more pigs growing at 2+ lb/day we’ve got to do everything in our management ability to help that pig remove the metabolic heat associated with this rapid rate of lean deposition.