By Bruce Cochrane
An agricultural economics professor with the University of Missouri predicts continued record live hog prices through the third quarter of 2014.
Seasonally, this is the time of year when pork producers expect their highest prices.
Dr. Ron Plain, an agricultural economics professor with the University of Missouri, says we've never seen prices as high as they've been this spring and it looks like they're going to continue through summer.
Dr. Ron Plain-University of Missouri
The key thing is the PED virus which has caused a lot of baby pig deaths here in the United States and those fewer pigs surviving and being weaned has meant reduced hog slaughter and so that's why we've gotten these record prices.
As far as how high they've been, the second quarter of this year we averaged over 114 dollars on a carcass weight basis.
That compares to 89 dollars a year ago so a big jump in prices and right now we'd guess the third quarter of this year will probably average a bit higher than did the second quarter.
It's a great time but things will cycle.
If the weather turns hot and dry feed prices could go up.
At some point in time we're going to see an expansion in sow numbers and so probably by later next year, looking at lower prices.
In fact USDA predicted that fall farrowings, September, October, November this year would be up 3.6 percent compared to a year ago so certainly these are good times but most everything in agriculture cycles and we're going to see more hogs and lower prices probably in the second half of 2015.
Dr. Plain notes the three most profitable months ever in the hog business were March, April and May and there's a fairly good chance that this summer we'll take out the all time record high which was set at the end of March.