Hog futures fell for the first time this week on speculation that U.S. producers are starting to retain more sows for breeding, signaling a rebound in the size of the herd. Cattle also dropped.
The breeding herd on Sept. 1 probably rose to 5.866 million hogs, up 1.4 percent from a year earlier, according to a Bloomberg survey of 10 analysts. Cash-hog prices jumped as much as 7.4 percent since Sept. 6 on concern that the supply of animals available for slaughter was shrinking. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will release its quarterly estimate of hog inventories tomorrow at 3 p.m. in Washington.
Hog futures for December settlement dropped 1 percent to 87.725 cents a pound at 10:53 a.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, after rallying 2.9 percent in the previous three sessions.
While the breeding herd will increase, the total number of hogs will drop 1 percent from a year earlier to 67.463 million animals, the Bloomberg survey showed.
The average weight of hog carcasses at slaughtering plants rose yesterday to 205.22 pounds, up 1.5 percent from a year earlier, USDA data show.
Cattle futures for December delivery fell 0.2 percent to $1.31 a pound on the CME. Feeder-cattle futures for November settlement rose 0.3 percent to $1.645 a pound.
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