Climatologists tell us we are on the back-side of summer heat. Historically, the last 2 weeks of July have the highest sustained temperatures. While we will still have days of heat, going forward we can expect night time lows to start declining. As a result, feed intake by growing pigs will begin to increase, meaning slaughter weights will increase.
I’ve been with several clients over the past few weeks who are watching slaughter weights closely. Their goal has been to drop about 10 pounds from their normal weights in anticipation of the fall run-up in slaughter weights.
So far, USDA data suggests that this hasn’t been happening industry wide. Historically, Iowa-SMinnesota weights are at their lowest somewhere between weeks 32 and 35 of each year. For the past 3 years the mandatory price reporting carcass weight (LM_HG201) has been the lowest each year in week 33-35.
We are currently in week 31 of 2016 and weights in both reports are falling, following the historical pattern. However, the Iowa-SMinnesota weights are only declining at a historic rate, not declining at a faster pace. The same can be said for the mandatory price reporting carcass weight.
All of this suggests the vast majority of producers have not made aggressive attempts to pull pigs forward in anticipation of a slaughter capacity ‘crunch’ in November and December. I’ve had reports of packers looking for pigs for late week kills so now is the time to become aggressive in getting control of your slaughter weights. September is too late – by then the weight gain train has left the station!