Cash-traded weaner pig volume was above average last week with 50,223 head being reported. This is 157% of the 52-week average. The low to high range was $14.00 - $28.00. Formula-priced weaners were also up, at $35.25.
While grain farmers questioned USDA’s relief pricing, the $8/head payment was determined by USDA economic models. About 6% of the overall expenditures in the market building programs will go to the pork industry.
Looking at hog sales in February 2019 using April 2019 futures, the weaner breakeven was $40.62, up $3.16 for the week. Feed costs were down $2.02 per head while cash weaner pig prices were $1.24 higher.
The weaner breakeven was $37.46, up $24.25 for the week. Feed costs were up $1.57 per head. April futures increased $13.43 compared to last week’s February futures used for the crush and historical basis has declined.
It’s a ‘sell it or smell it’ business, says the CEO of Smithfield Foods, Inc., which it part of the Chinese-owned WH Group. With the high Chinese tariffs, the company is finding markets elsewhere for its products.
Talks on renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) continued for the third straight week last week, as representatives from the U.S., Canada and Mexico pushed to finalize an updated deal.
“Mexico still dominates U.S. pork exports, it's about a third of the export story,” said Will Sawyer, CoBank. “We really need to keep that market intact as we go through the rest of especially in 2019.”