A very significant factor in the recent declines in hog prices has been the explosion in hog carcass weights, according to Steve Meyer and Len Steiner, authors of The Daily Livestock Report (DLR), sponsored by the CME Group, Inc.

It’s not unusual for hog weights to increase into the fall due to cooler weather, new corn becoming available, etc.

But the recent increase in hog carcass weights has occurred at a much faster pace than would be expected for this time of year, apparently catching producers and packers off guard.

The sudden jump in hog carcass weights can be credited to the current corn being harvested that is dramatically better than the old crop corn that was being fed to hogs prior to this year’s harvest.

Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Mandatory Price Reporting system shows that hog carcass weights have gone from around 202-203 lb. per carcass at the end of September to as high as 207 lb. per carcass as of Oct. 18.

DLR staff explains the increase in weights has probably offset the year-over-year declines in hog slaughter and pork production is now likely running above year-ago levels.

They suggest that the feed intake improvements and increase in carcass weights affect the way that producers market hogs. Producers can’t allow weights to increase at their current pace and must instead push to market their hogs sooner.