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Stable Pork Supply Provides Retailers and Foodservice Operators with a Predictable Marketing Environment in 2024

Pork supply has recovered, with slaughter over 2.6M consistently in the last four weeks. Since December 1 slaughter is up by more than 3% y/y, double the rate of increase indicated by the inventory survey.

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After Several Short Slaughter Weeks, Spot Market Will Take Some Time to Recover. Prop 12 Demand a Wild Card Going Forward.

In the last four weeks hog slaughter is down 2.3% lower than a year ago, and that’s after a 2.7M week last week. Spot supply has been tight following holiday and winter weather disruptions and it will take some time for it to recover.

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Short Holiday Slaughter and Weather Impact Spot Supplies in the Near Term, with Processing Items Affected the Most

Short holiday weeks and winter storms across the Midwest have impacted processing and resulted in tight spot supplies. Slaughter in the last three weeks has been under 2.3M head/week, about 300k head less per week than in early December.

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Productivity Gains More than Offset Herd Reductions, Setting the Stage for Higher Pork Production in 2024

Hog slaughter continues to outpace estimates and, based on the latest ‘Hogs and Pigs’ survey results, slaughter should remain higher y/y through the spring and summer.

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Pork Supply Continues to Outpace Estimates in the Near Term

In the last three weeks hog slaughter has been near 2.7 million head, well above expectations. We estimate that Sep-Nov slaughter was 1.7% higher than a year ago, well above the 1% increase indicated in the Mar-May pig crop.

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2024 Outlook Thoughts and Potential

Demand remains a primary challenge that could impact the pork market in 2024.

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Expectations For More Pork In 2024 But Plenty Of Questions

USDA thinks that pork production in 2024 will be up 1.9% from 2023 despite talk/expectation for a smaller breeding herd. For now it appears USDA thinks productivity gains will more than offset the decline in the breeding herd.

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Ample Supply As Slaughter/Production Exceeds Estimates

Pork supply remains ample and it is only expected to increase in the next few weeks. Hog slaughter approaching 2.7 million head plus steady increases in hog carcass weights means market is well supplied and product available.

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Hog Futures Lose Ground As Cutout Continues to Slide

Market has become somewhat disjointed. Futures are at contract lows and the wholesale price index has been steadily declining for the last two month. However, not all pork prices are down. Loin prices continue to hold up and brisket bones have been steadily moving higher.

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Pork Prices Seasonally Lower And With More Downside From Here

Hog slaughter was lower than the previous week but for the next 6-7 weeks slaughter should hover around 2.6 million head, helping bolster supply and pressure prices lower. Futures were lower earlier in the week, largely a knee-jerk reaction to the results of the September inventory survey. In the near term, however, wholesale pork prices have been more resilient than markets were expecting.

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