Have you paid attention to the cull sow market lately? A lot has been written about the very good prices (relative to seasonal expectations) the industry is receiving for market pigs but I’ve seen no comments regarding cull sows.
According to this morning’s USDA slaughter sow price report, the national average for 450-500 lb cull sows is $59.65/cwt while 550+ cull sows are bringing $64.96. A 490 lb cull female is earning over $290. A 425 lb cull female is worth $234. This kind of income goes a long ways towards paying the genetic and production costs associated with replacement gilts!
These prices suggest that the sausage and ground pork market, like the wholesale cut (loins and shoulders) and processed meat (bacon, ham) has a strong demand undercurrent – people like the taste of sausage for breakfast sandwiches, pizza’s, pasta sauces, bratwurst, etc. The recent move by McDonald’s to 24 hour breakfast meal offerings won’t hurt this demand either.