Weights have had the potential to expand production sharply for some time. Again, the mystery here is the comparison to last year because last year was so unusual from both a weather and cost standpoint. The summer rally for butcher hog prices and some moderation in cash corn and meal prices provided incentive to turn weights upward earlier than is normally the case. Again, this isn’t because this year’s situation is all that good. It is primarily because it is so much better than anyone has been accustomed to in the past year!
The early turn and prospects for lower feed costs had me thinking we could see average weights for MPR barrows and gilts as much as four or five pounds higher this year once we get to mid-September. That could still happen, but last week’s heat apparently took its toll. Was that toll due to pig performance or fear that corn and meal prices were not going to fall as much this fall? The answer is “Yes” – both had an impact.
The more important question is, “How long will the impact of last week last?” Some areas of western Iowa and Minnesota got rain over the weekend. Temperatures have cooled decidedly. But there is still not a lot of widespread weather help being forecast. Will hog producers respond by muting the year-on-year weight increases? If they do, it will take 1% or so off my expectation for Q4 pork production.