young feeder pigs

Feeder pig prices have rebounded after being impacted by the pandemic. The Livestock Marketing Information Center says one source of support for feeder pig prices has been increasing sow slaughter levels.

“Sow slaughter continues at a strong pace this year with an 11% increase in levels through late October,” the LMIC said in a recent analysis.

This had led to lower feeder pig supplies.

“Increased sow slaughter levels have led to lower available feeder pig supplies as was shown by the Sept. 1 Hogs and Pigs report, which noted a 3.5% decline in market hogs and pigs weighing under 50 pounds,” the LMIC said.

The center says this has helped push prices higher, following supply and demand economics.

“Lower levels of available feeder pigs have led to a rise in prices for 10- to 12-pound and 40-pound feeder pigs,” the LMIC said. “

Early-weaned feeder pig prices plummeted in mid-April, and 40-pound feeder pig prices tumbled during the summer months, but both have rebounded through the late summer and fall.

“Prices for both categories are following more seasonal patterns,” the LMIC said.

The center said Canadian hog imports also fell during the coronavirus outbreak.

“As feeder pig prices slumped in the wake of the pandemic so did Canadian hog imports,” the LMIC said. “… April and May Canadian hog imports weighing under 50 kg from Canada were down 4.4% and 21.3%, respectively, with the months following showing improvement as feeder pig prices increased.”

The imports have been increasing from lows earlier this year, but farrowing intentions still show declines.

“The influx of Canadian feeder pigs is not enough to offset declines implied by declines in farrowing intentions in September-November, an estimated decline of 147,000 sows from the same period last year and equivalent to about 1.6 million piglets for this quarter alone,” the LMIC said.

The center says it looks like demand and supplies should continue to support feeder pig prices.

“Feeder pig prices though would imply that feeder pig demand has increased since the summer,” the LMIC said. “The shorter feeder pig supplies should be supportive of feeder pig prices into the next quarter as those intentions too were below a year ago.”

Ben Herrold is Missouri field editor, writing for Missouri Farmer Today, Iowa Farmer Today and Illinois Farmer Today.