2021 Live Hog Imports Up, Cattle Down: USDA

US live hog imports for 2021 were projected to exceed last year by 25%, while live cattle imports through October were down 19% from the 2020 period, according to the USDA’s Situation and Outlook Report.

Canada supplies nearly all imported hogs, most of them feeder pigs weighing less than 110 pounds, the report said.  However, recent increases in feeder pigs and hogs for immediate slaughter drove a spike in imports.

Almost two-thirds of cattle imports are feeder cattle from Mexico, currently down 23% on stronger year-over-year cattle prices.

 

SWINE IMPORTS UP

 

As of October, year-to-date feeder pig imports increased from last year by 591,000 head, or 16%, the report said, and imports of hogs for immediate slaughter increased by 654,000 head, or 103%.

Through September, hogs for immediate slaughter accounted for 23% of imports, compared with an average of 14% over the last five years, the report said.  A strike at a Canadian processing plant caused a temporary market disruption, contributing to this irregular spike in imports of hogs for immediate slaughter.

The fourth-quarter pork production forecast was raised about 55 million pounds to 7.2 billion pounds because of a quicker-than-expected pace of hog slaughter since early November, the report said.  Consecutive weeks in November of estimated federally inspected hog slaughter exceeding 2.6 million head suggest US pork processors is working around operational constraints.

Estimated FI slaughter numbers for November, at almost 11.1 million head, are about 3.7% fewer than FI numbers for November 2020, the report said.

 

CATTLE IMPORTS UP

 

October beef imports totaled 293 million pounds, up 17% from a year ago, the report said.  The 2021 annual forecast for beef imports was raised 55 million pounds from last month to 3.315 billion pounds.

The 2022 beef import forecast was increased to 3.265 billion pounds, the report said.

October beef exports were up 281 million pounds, 9% more than last year, the report said.  The annual forecasts for 2021 and 2022 beef exports were unchanged from last month at 3.455 and 3.270 billion pounds, respectively.

The forecast for 2021 commercial beef production was raised slightly from last month to 27.895 billion pounds on higher fed cattle slaughter and heavier carcass weights, the report said.

Fed and feeder steer price estimates were raised in 2021 and 2022.  The report said the 2021 annual forecast for fed steers was raised $1.25 to $122.56 per cwt and the 2022 forecast was upped $5.00 to $135.00; the Oklahoma City feeder steer forecast was $159.74 per cwt, up $6.22 from last month, and the 2022 forecast was up $5.00 to $135.00.

 

CATTLE, BEEF RECAP

 

The USDA reported formula and contract base prices for live FOB steers and heifers this week ranged from $136.23 to $137.27 per cwt, compared with last week’s range of $137.09 to $138.34.  FOB dressed steers and heifers went for $214.38 to $215.04 per cwt, versus $216.25 to $219.76.

The USDA choice cutout Wednesday was up $1.05 per cwt at $265.71, while select was up $1.00 at $257.09.  The choice/select spread widened to $8.62 from $8.57 with 105 loads of fabricated product and 30 loads of trimmings and grinds sold into the spot market.

The USDA reported Wednesday that basis bids for corn from livestock feeding operations in the Southern Plains were unchanged at $1.35 to $1.45 a bushel over the Mar futures and for southwest Kansas were unchanged at $0.40 over Mar, which settled at $6.05 1/2 a bushel, up $0.00 3/4.

No delivery intentions were posted against the Dec live cattle contract Wednesday.

The CME Feeder Cattle Index for the seven days ended Tuesday was $159.45 per cwt down $0.11.  This compares with Wednesday’s Jan contract settlement of $165.87 per cwt, up $2.32.