Lower Saturday hog slaughter
More hogs and the strong pork demand of fall usually mean good margins. Not this year, and the result is very low Saturday slaughter. As can be seen below, Saturday slaughter has been 33,000, 42,000, and 90,000 head lower than the average of the past five years in the most recent three weeks.
The third factor is that cash corn prices have plummeted, driving the cost of those last few pounds of gain (i.e. what we economists call “marginal costs”) lower at a time when hog prices have rallied. Omaha corn was reported at $6.45/bushel on Sept. 5. It was $5.03 last week. Producers have an incentive to take hogs heavier but weights have not responded much yet.