Jim Long Pork Commentary, Hog Futures Down – Cash Hogs Up – Bizarre, May 23rd 2023


Iowa – S. Minnesota cash hogs were 67.44¢ on April 24th. Last Friday (May 19) they were 87.73¢ lb. A 20¢ lb. gain in 3 weeks or up over $40 per head. Still a price that leads to losing money but certainly going in the right direction at a rapid rate.

The wizards who play with lean hog futures see it different. Since April’s June high of 91¢ lb. the June futures closed at 83¢ lb. last Friday. Bizarre. Cash hogs now almost 88¢ lb. while the wizards think June will be 83¢ lb. The trajectory of cash hogs is higher. We are not sure if ever June cash hogs ended lower than mid May’s prices.

The Wizard’s first rule: People are stupid. – Terry Goodkind


  • U.S. Pork Exports continue to run higher at 36,000 Tonnes a week compared to 30,000. The extra 6,000 Tonnes is about equivalent to 100,000 extra hogs gone from domestic market.
  • We all see the Corn – Soybean price declining. A welcome sign of relief for a beleaguered swine industry. U.S. average Corn price per bushel last Friday $5.88. It was $6.85 in April. A decline of almost $1.00 a bushel cutting cost of production of a hog by $10 per head. September Corn Futures closed Friday at $4.94 bushel, reflecting the good start to U.S. planting season, plentiful Brazil crop and low corn exports. China continues to cancel Corn orders. Maybe you don’t need Corn for a decimated hog herd from ASF disease. Soybean Meal has also declined October $380 ton. Down from the high of this year of $438 ton in March.
  • U.S. hog slaughter last week 2,408,00 the same as last year. It appears to us U.S. hog weights are declining rapidly as packers chase hogs to maintain plant capacity. Last Thursday the National Daily Direct Slaughter of 235,470 head average 281.43 lbs. It hasn’t been hot, so we don’t think these weights which are low for May are heat affected. Where are we going to end up when we get hot weather? Lower weights for sure? Lower hog numbers to slaughter? We expect both. Dynamics to push hog price higher. Always have – Always will.
  • Prop 12 – lots of scrambling as industry sorts out next moves. What is supply of Prop 12 pigs? That’s the big question. Not sure anybody really knows.
  • Prop 12 – it’s a loss in our mind for our industry but a win for Genesus. The Genesus female handles group pen gestation in our opinion better than all our competitors with superior leg and feet structure and a temperament conducive to mixing in pens. Our sow mortality and attrition are significantly lower than our competitors and in Prop 12 pens the difference becomes even greater.
  • We understand that the National Pork Board has done substantial studies on pork demand. We are glad they have. Not sure anybody hears much about this effort. We understand their surveys say Taste is the main driver for consumers. Not a surprise. Maybe we should do something about it. Our industry is languishing with no movement higher in per capita consumption for a generation. This while total meat consumption has increased 20% per capita. We are losing money as an industry. Selling the same crap isn’t working.

Taste is combination of marbling, juiciness and texture. Ask yourself, are you proud of the taste of the pork you produce? Do you order Beef when you are at a restaurant?


  • Lean hog prices climbing – slaughter weights declining – seasonally slaughter numbers going down.
  • U.S. pork exports have risen.
  • European hog prices near record highs – prices on lower supply supporting U.S. pork export increase.
  • Feed prices declining if cost of production could decrease $20 per head plus this fall from April costs.
  • Genesus China team just participated in Trade Show in Chengdu, China. The stories of herd liquidation from ASF are rampant. The liquidation will lead to rapid price increase in early summer. China is the world’s largest importer of Pork will need more Pork.
  • From industry info, we believe that the U.S. will liquidate 300,000 sows plus over the coming months. This will cut production significantly. Higher prices will reflect the lower supply late fall into 2024.

The surest cure to low prices is low prices – Hogs

The surest cure to high prices is high prices – Corn

Members of the Genesus team in China