ERS Charts of Note
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Thursday, April 20, 2023
Changes in beef cow inventory are related to the phases of the cattle cycle—the expansion (increase) and contraction (decrease) of the U.S. beef cattle herd over time. This cycle evolves gradually and tends to span 8 to 12 years. The cyclical pattern follows the biological nature of beef cattle production and cattle producers’ responses to changes in prices and climate conditions. The current cattle cycle, which began in 2014, is now in a contraction phase, with inventory contracting at an increasing rate each year since 2020. On January 1, 2023, U.S. beef cow inventory was 28.9 million head, 3.6 percent less than the previous year. Drought is a significant contributor to recent declines in beef cow inventory, in part because of the detrimental effects of dry weather patterns on pasture and range conditions. At the start of 2023, nearly 93 percent of U.S. beef cows were in States where most of the pasture and range were rated in “very poor” to “fair” condition based on data from the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Cattle producers periodically provide supplemental feed, such as hay, to maintain animals when pasture conditions are poor. According to NASS, producers faced record-high prices of non-alfalfa hay during the last two quarters of 2022 and in each month through the beginning of 2023. High hay prices increase the cost of maintaining cattle and provide an incentive for producers to remove cattle from their herds. Except for one month in 2022, monthly beef cow slaughter has been higher year over year since March 2021. Meanwhile, beef cow inventory has settled at progressively lower levels since the 1990–2004 cattle cycle. This trend is consistent with the general decline in cattle inventories observed since 1975. This chart appears in the special article published in the Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook: March 2023 .
Wednesday, April 12, 2023
Hog producers pay close attention to the weights at which they market hogs. Hog feed rations, whose principal components are corn and high-protein soybean meal, typically account for more than half of hog production costs. Producers will often add additional weight to hogs when hog prices offset the additional costs of doing so. In the three years leading up to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, hog weights reflected moderate feed costs and hog prices. Hog dressed weights, the weight of the animal available after processing, averaged 212 pounds per hog. As the U.S. economy reopened in 2021 after shutdowns related to COVID-19, demand for pork increased significantly. Consequently, 2021 hog prices increased dramatically, reflecting recovery of the processing sector and reduced pork production. Dressed weights responded to higher hog prices in 2021, averaging almost 214.7 pounds, despite significantly higher feed costs. Through most of 2022, lower production combined with strong consumer demand drove hog prices to year-over-year higher levels, largely compensating producers for increased costs of adding weight to hogs. Dressed weights in 2022 averaged 215.6 pounds per head compared with 214.7 pounds in 2021. However, average dressed weights dropped below previous year levels in late 2022. Factors including inflation, high interest rates, economic uncertainty, and negative producer returns in November and December created incentives for producers to market hogs at lighter weights. This trend has continued through the first 9 weeks of 2023. During this time, hog weights averaged 217.4 pounds—1.1 pounds below 2022 because of high feed costs, weak consumer demand in the current inflationary environment, and disease losses in major hog-producing States. This chart first appeared in the USDA, Economic Research Service Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook, March 2023.
Tuesday, April 11, 2023
The proximity of livestock production helps explain the type of manure farmers apply to crops. Livestock production is geographically concentrated in the United States, and manure can be expensive to transport because of its low nutrient density and high proportion of water. Accordingly, farmers typically apply the type of manure that is available from local animal production. Since most hogs are produced in the Midwest, hog manure is applied more often to corn and soybeans that are grown in the region. Dairies, which tend to be located in the western, midwestern, and northeastern U.S., supply the largest share of manure applied to corn, barley, and oats. Most chickens are raised in the southeastern U.S. and poultry manure is used to meet crop nutrient needs of cotton and peanuts that are mainly grown in the region. Beef cattle operations in the Great Plains supply more than 50 percent of the manure applied to wheat acreage. In 2020, manure was applied to about 8 percent of the 240.9 million acres planted to seven major U.S. field crops. This chart appears in the USDA, Economic Research Service report Increasing the Value of Animal Manure for Farmers, published March 2023.
Wednesday, April 5, 2023
Manure has long been used as a source of primary plant nutrients, including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. However, the proportions available in manure are unlikely to match a crop’s nutrient needs perfectly. For instance, while manure could be used to satisfy many crops’ nitrogen requirements, this would result in more phosphorus being applied than what most crops need. Excessive application of manure on cropland can cause nutrients to accumulate in soil, leach, or to run off into nearby bodies of water. To help avoid over-application of nutrients, farmers can test the nutrient content of manure, restrict manure applications, and/or apply just enough supplemental commercial fertilizer nutrients to meet their crop’s needs. Between 2013 and 2019, producers of seven major crops in the United States who used manure were asked how much manure they applied per acre on these croplands. Using this information, ERS estimated crop nutrient application rates. Corn received the highest application rate of nitrogen from a manure source—92 pounds per acre—followed by cotton, wheat, barley, oats, soybeans, and peanuts. Cotton led phosphorus application at 37 pounds per acre, and corn led potassium application at 59 pounds per acre. Soybeans and peanuts require less nitrogen fertilization; therefore, they were applied with the lowest manure nitrogen application rates. Manure applied to soybeans and peanuts is valued primarily for its phosphorus and potassium. In 2020, manure was applied to about 8 percent of the 240.9 million acres planted to 7 major U.S. field crops. This chart appears in the USDA, Economic Research Service report Increasing the Value of Animal Manure for Farmers, published March 2023.
Thursday, March 23, 2023
For most crops, small-scale farmers are more likely than large-scale farmers to apply manure. The smallest 25 percent of farms (by planted area) were more likely to apply manure than any other farm size group for five of seven crops studied: corn, barley, oats, soybeans, and wheat—all except cotton and peanuts. For example, among the smallest 25 percent of corn farmers, roughly half applied manure. On the other hand, only 13 percent of the largest corn farmers applied manure to their corn. This pattern of small-scale farmers using manure as a crop nutrient source more than other size farmers may be partly explained by specialization. Larger crop farms are more likely to specialize and not diversify their operations with animal production, limiting access to manure produced on the farm. Manure was applied to about 8 percent of the 240.9 million acres planted to the seven major U.S. field crops. Manure supplies nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to growing crops and can improve soil quality. This chart appears in the USDA, Economic Research Service report Increasing the Value of Animal Manure for Farmers, published March 2023.
Thursday, March 16, 2023
Retail prices for various red meats, poultry, and egg products fluctuate and are influenced by various economic factors, including inflation. However, the protein content of animal products—a physical characteristic associated with products of animal origin—is fixed, allowing for dollar value per gram of protein comparisons. Between 2019 and 2022, the retail price per gram of protein for a number of animal products trended higher with inflation. Despite increasing in dollar value, the relative rankings of those selected products were mostly unchanged. During 2022, successive Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza outbreaks adversely affected the U.S. egg supply. Decreases in supply combined with strong egg demand pushed retail egg prices to record levels. As egg prices surged in 2022 and early 2023, the cost per gram of protein rankings began to shift. On a per gram of protein basis, eggs were competitively priced with boneless chicken breasts and pork chops by October 2022. By December 2022, eggs were on par with ground beef. In February, eggs were still one of the most expensive sources of protein among the selected animal products at 5.7 cents per gram of protein. This comes despite a 12.8-percent drop from the January peak of 6.4 cents. Historically, eggs and chicken legs have been the two lowest cost sources of protein among red meats, poultry, and egg products. Between 2019 and 2021, eggs were the least expensive source of protein in 20 out of 36 months. This chart is drawn from USDA, Economic Research Service’s Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook: February 2023.
Wednesday, March 15, 2023
The number of on-farm anaerobic digester systems has steadily increased since 2000, according to AgSTAR, a collaborative program sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency and USDA. An anaerobic digester is an airtight vessel in which bacteria digest, or decompose, organic waste such as manure, and the resulting biogas can be used to generate electricity or sold. A total of 322 on-farm systems were in operation at the end of 2021, including 50 that started operating that year. Recent growth in the number of digesters corresponds to increased demand for renewable fuel as a result of carbon credit trading and incentive programs. Further, more covered lagoons have been built as their costs have decreased. Although adoption began in the 1970s, steady growth of on-farm anaerobic digestion systems in the United States did not pick up until the 1990s. Growth then persisted until about 2013, after which it slowed considerably, then began increasing again. Many of the newer digester projects are designed to produce compressed natural gas that can be injected into pipelines to take advantage of carbon credit-trading programs such as California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard program. Roughly 78 percent of all on-farm anaerobic digestion facilities in the United States are found on dairy farms. Digester adoption is highest in California, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. This chart appears in the Economic Research Service report, Increasing the Value of Animal Manure for Farmers, published March 2023.
Friday, March 10, 2023
In 2008, California passed Proposition 2, a ballot measure that banned in-State egg-laying operations from housing laying hens in a way that made them unable to fully extend their limbs or turn around freely. Since then, eight more States have passed similar bans on confinement or caged production of laying hens. In addition, Ohio imposed a suspension on new permits for caged-layer operations. Many of these bans are scheduled to take effect between 2023 and 2026. Before 2022, fewer than 5 percent of egg-laying hens were raised in States with implemented restrictions on confined or caged production, but that number is expected to surpass 13 percent by 2026. Based on average 2002–17 Census of Agriculture values for egg-laying operations, about 3 percent of operations in 2021 were covered by confinement or caged production restrictions, but coverage will grow more than sixfold by 2026. Despite the increasing coverage of State bans in the U.S. egg-laying flock, as many as 85 percent of operations in the United States (representing 87 percent of total U.S. egg production) would still legally be allowed to produce using these cage systems after 2026. This chart was drawn from the USDA, Economic Research Service report, State Policies for Farm Animal Welfare in Production Practices of U.S. Livestock and Poultry Industries: An Overview, December 2022.
Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Retail prices for chicken wings have been trending lower in recent months and in time for national sporting events such as the upcoming Super Bowl and the college basketball championship tournaments (“March Madness”). Previously, a combination of limited supplies and strong demand led to a historic runup in wholesale and retail prices. Wholesale chicken wing prices reached a peak of $3.25 per pound in late May 2021, but retail prices continued to climb. At the start of the 2022 March Madness basketball tournament, the national average retail feature price (prices advertised in grocery flyers) was estimated at $4.29 per pound. Nearly a year later and just ahead of the 2023 Super Bowl and basketball tournament, the national average feature price is down nearly $1.70 per pound to $2.62 (price as of January 13). Increased production has boosted volumes of chicken wings in cold storage, so wholesale prices have fallen even further than retail prices. The average wholesale price in December 2022 was 89 cents per pound, down more than $2.50 per pound from the 2021 peak. This chart is drawn from USDA, Economic Research Service’s Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook: January 2023.
Monday, February 6, 2023
Researchers at USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS) examined rotational grazing systems on beef cow-calf operations and found that as average paddock size increased, farmers and ranchers tended to rotate their cattle less frequently. Rotational grazing systems are those in which livestock owners rotate animals among a series of paddocks (fenced pasture areas), allowing forage to recover before returning the cattle to graze in that spot again. A key decision for ranchers and farmers that affects forage growth is the number of rotations for a given number of paddocks. A large portion (84 percent) of intensive rotational grazing (IRG) operations with small paddocks (paddocks of 19 acres or less) rotated their cattle so that each paddock had four or more rotations per year. Intensive rotational grazing systems use an average grazing period of 14 or fewer days per paddock. In contrast, researchers found that about 52 percent of IRG operations using large paddocks (40 acres or more) rotated cattle four or more times per year. This pattern of smaller paddocks and more rotations was even more evident for basic rotational grazing (BRG) operations, which use an average grazing period longer than 14 days per paddock. Around 67 percent of BRG operations with small paddocks used four or more rotations per paddock per year, but the share drops to 35 percent for BRG operations with large paddocks. The relationships between rotation frequency, paddock size, and system intensity highlight the complexity underlying the practice of rotating cattle through multiple paddocks. This chart appears in the ERS report Rotational Grazing Adoption by Cow-Calf Operations, published in November 2022.
Monday, January 30, 2023
Rotational grazing is a management practice in which livestock are cycled through multiple fenced grazing areas (paddocks) to manage forage production, forage quality, animal health, and environmental quality. In a recent study, USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS) researchers found the highest rate of total rotational grazing adoption (49 percent of operations) in the Northern Plains and Western Corn Belt region, and the lowest level (25 percent of operations) in the Southern Plains region. The researchers classified two systems of rotational grazing: basic, in which average grazing periods are longer than 14 days per paddock; and intensive, in which grazing periods are 14 days or fewer per paddock. Researchers used detailed cow-calf operation data on grazing system management decisions to compare the adoption rates of basic rotational grazing systems with intensive systems. For four of the five regions analyzed in this research, basic rotational grazing was more common than intensive rotational grazing. The exception was the Appalachian region, where 25 percent of cow-calf operations used intensive rotational grazing and 22 percent used basic rotational grazing. Major drivers for regional differences in adoption could include varying forage types, which may respond better to rotational grazing than others, and differing climates. This chart draws on information in the ERS report Rotational Grazing Adoption by Cow-Calf Operations, published November 2022, and in the ERS Amber Waves article Study Examines How and Where U.S. Cow-Calf Operations Use Rotational Grazing, published in November 2022.
Tuesday, December 6, 2022
Rotational grazing is a management practice in which ranchers rotate cattle through a series of paddocks. It is an alternative to continuous grazing in which cattle stay on a single pasture. About 40 percent of all cow-calf operations reported using a rotational grazing system, with cow-calf/retained stocker producers leading adoption. Retained stockers keep one or more of their calves through the initial feeder stage for later sale to feedlots. Based on data collected from the 2018 Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) Cattle and Calves Cost and Returns Report, 54 percent of retained stocker operations have adopted some form of rotational grazing. This adoption rate is more than the rate for strictly cow-calf producers, who sell all calves at or around weaning (38 percent), or retained finisher producers, who retain calves until market weight (50 percent). Retained stockers are much more likely to employ intensive rotational grazing systems, which use an average grazing period of 14 or fewer days per paddock, than strictly cow-calf operations and finishers. Across all forms of cow-calf operations, 16 percent of producers use intensive rotational grazing and 24 percent use basic rotational grazing (using an average grazing period longer than 14 days per paddock). The type of grazing system an operator selects can be part of managing forage production, forage quality, animal health, and environmental quality. This chart appears in the USDA, Economic Research Service report Rotational Grazing Adoption by Cow-Calf Operations, published in November 2022.
Thursday, October 13, 2022
USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS) annually estimates the previous year’s farm sector cash receipts—the cash income received from agricultural commodity sales. This data includes State-level estimates, which offer background information about States subject to unexpected events that affect the agricultural sector, such as Hurricane Ian, which swept across Florida and surrounding States in late September 2022. In 2021, commodities produced in Florida contributed about $7.5 billion (1.7 percent) of the $434 billion in total U.S. cash receipts. Floriculture, the cultivation of flowers, accounted for the largest share of Florida’s cash receipts. Valued at $1.1 billion (14.9 percent of the State’s total), floriculture receipts for Florida were higher than for any other State in 2021. The next largest commodities in Florida in terms of cash receipts were oranges ($670 million), sugarcane ($553 million), cattle and calves ($546 million), milk ($470 million), strawberries ($399 million) and tomatoes ($324 million). Certain Florida crops accounted for large percentages of U.S. cash receipts in 2021, such as sugarcane with 51 percent and oranges with 42 percent, while bell peppers and grapefruit accounted for roughly a third of U.S. production. In addition to floriculture, Florida led the nation in cash receipts for sugarcane, cabbage, cucumbers, watermelon, sweet corn, and snap beans. This chart uses data from the ERS U.S. and State-Level Farm Income and Wealth Statistics data product, updated in September 2022.
Friday, April 15, 2022
Per capita red meat and poultry disappearance is expected to modestly decrease in 2022. While it is often used as a proxy measure for consumption, per capita meat disappearance is a measure of the supply available for use in domestic markets, including fresh and processed meat sold through grocery stores and used in restaurants. In aggregate, the forecast is driven by a decrease in total red meat disappearance (-0.30 percent) that more than offsets an increase in total poultry disappearance (+0.11 percent). Despite the fractional net decrease, the 2022 value is expected to reach a near record high, second to the previous high in 2021. Over the last decade (2012–21), per capita meat disappearance has generally been on an upward trend, with an overall increase of 22.5 pounds. The latest USDA forecast indicates that in 2022, U.S. consumers will have access to 224.6 pounds of red meat and poultry on a per capita retail weight basis. This forecast is 0.2 pounds lower than last year, and 10.3 pounds higher than the 2012–21 average. Looking at the main protein species, 2022 per capita disappearance for beef and pork is expected to decrease by 0.34 and 0.20 percent, respectively, because of lower livestock inventory. Disappearance for broilers and turkey is expected to increase by 0.11 and 0.35 percent, respectively. Sustained by a steady production growth trend, 2022 broiler disappearance adds to a decade-long stretch of year-over-year increases. The increase in turkey disappearance marks the first year of increase since 2016. This chart first appeared in the USDA, Economic Research Service’s Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook, March 2022 and has been updated with recent data.
Tuesday, November 30, 2021
Demand for table eggs tends to increase when holiday gatherings and cold weather encourage home baking and cooking. In accordance, wholesale table egg prices—the prices retailers pay to producers for eggs—tend to increase ahead of holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. Leading up to the 2021 holiday season, however, wholesale prices of table eggs in the United States have fallen as effects of Coronavirus (COVID-19)-linked flock adjustments linger. In normal years, producers anticipate seasonal demand by adjusting the size of the table-egg laying flocks and the rate at which they produce eggs. In 2020, COVID-19-related disruptions in the demand for eggs led producers to reduce flock sizes. Flock sizes have slowly rebuilt since the summer of 2020 but remain smaller than the same time in 2019. However, the younger flocks produce more eggs per hen. The higher productivity can offset the effects of the small flock size and support increased production. At the beginning of October 2021 the size of the U.S. laying flock was just above the October 2020 levels and the rate of lay was 1.1 percent higher. This productivity bump is predicted to support about a 1 percent increase in October 2021 table egg production compared with a year ago, leading to a 9.6 percent price reduction compared to October 2020. This chart is drawn from the USDA, Economic Research Service Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Monthly Outlook, published November 2021.
Monday, October 4, 2021
USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS) projects the total value of U.S. agricultural exports to reach an all-time high in fiscal year (FY) 2022 (October–September). Higher shipments of major categories of commodities including grains and feeds, oilseeds and products, and livestock, poultry, and dairy products are primarily driving the increase in value. Total U.S. agricultural export values are projected to reach $177.5 billion in FY 2022, up from their previous high of $173.5 billion in FY 2021. Grains and feeds export values are projected up from their 5-year average, reflecting higher international demand for corn, wheat, and feeds. Oilseeds and products are projected to reach a record $43.5 billion in FY 2022. International demand for soybeans coupled with higher prices is projected to drive export values to a record high for FY 2021 before increasing further in FY 2022. Soybean meal exports also are projected to reach record value. Livestock, poultry, and dairy exports, which have averaged $29.5 billion from 2015 to 2020, are forecast to rise to $36.8 billion in FY 2022. This projected increase is led by a rise in export value for all product groups except pork, with especially strong exports in beef and dairy. Higher prices and higher traded volumes for many commodities along with the reconciliation of trade disputes all contribute to the growth in export value. This chart is drawn from data in ERS’s Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade, August 26, 2021, and reflects USDA’s new definition of “Agricultural Products,” which includes ethanol, distilled spirits, and manufactured tobacco products and excludes rubber and allied products.
Wednesday, April 7, 2021
Exports accounted for about 10 percent of the 5.7 billion pounds of turkey produced in the United States in 2020. While exporters sent the majority of turkey shipments to Mexico, China re-emerged as a buyer for the first time since 2014. In January 2015, China banned all imports of poultry from the United States because of U.S. outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). After nearly 5 years, China lifted its ban on U.S. poultry in November 2019. As China faced a protein deficit caused by African swine fever, demand for turkey products increased, causing China to quickly become the second largest foreign market for U.S. turkey, after Mexico. Despite this new growth market, turkey exports in 2020 fell from 2019 levels as global demand decreased and domestic production declined year over year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Between 2010 and 2014, China's share of U.S. turkey exports averaged about 11 percent, or around 81 million pounds. China’s share of U.S. turkey exports in 2020 was around 7 percent, or 38 million pounds. The new demand from China did not make up for falling demand for turkey in Mexico and other parts of the world. Exports to Mexico were 22 million pounds below 2019. Exports to the rest of the world declined by 83 million pounds, including decreases in shipments to Benin, Hong Kong, South Africa, Peru, and Japan. In 2021, total turkey exports are forecast at 570 million pounds, which would be a slight decrease from 2020. This chart is drawn from the USDA, Economic Research Service’s Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook, February 2021.
Wednesday, December 9, 2020
Errata: On December 11, 2020, text was updated to distinguish that preliminary data was used in the chart and that official November turkey weight data is forthcoming.
Expectations that people will gather in smaller groups for the holidays this year may have resulted in increased demand for smaller turkeys for Thanksgiving tables. However, the industry may not have been able to fulfill that change in consumer demand in time for the food-centered holiday. For turkeys to be grown in time for Thanksgiving, they must have been hatched in August or earlier. As a result, the reaction to changing demand can be delayed. Stocks of frozen turkeys build up all year long in preparation for the seasonal spike in demand, so many of the birds that were for sale in grocery stores around Thanksgiving were processed even earlier in the year. Even so, preliminary data in the weeks that led up to Thanksgiving suggested that the average live weight of turkey hens processed was below last year’s average. Birds that classify as turkey hens are those that weigh fewer than 16 pounds raw or fewer than about 20 pounds live. Official data for November turkey weights will be released by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service in late December. This chart is drawn from Economic Research Service’s Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook, November 2020.
Monday, July 20, 2020
The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is a new economic and trade agreement that modifies the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), adding provisions for continued growth in agricultural trade among the three member countries. Agriculture has a large and growing stake in interregional trade in the free-trade area created by NAFTA. The total value of intraregional agricultural trade (exports and imports) among all three NAFTA countries reached about $95.3 billion in 2019, compared with $16.6 billion in 1993 (the year before NAFTA’s implementation). Even after taking the effects of inflation into account, this expansion corresponds to an increase in intraregional agricultural trade of 252 percent. Under the ratified new agreement, which took effect on July 1, 2020, all agricultural products that had zero tariffs under NAFTA will continue to have zero tariffs under USMCA. The USMCA adds provisions on biotechnology; geographical indicators; and sanitary and phytosanitary measures, which are measures to protect humans, animals, and plants from diseases, pests, or contaminants. It also provides broader market opportunities for U.S. exports to Canada of dairy, poultry, and egg products. These new provisions, coupled with the continuation of intraregional free trade in almost all agricultural products, provides the foundation for further agricultural trade growth among the United States, Mexico, and Canada. This chart appears in the Economic Research Service’s Amber Waves article, “United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) Approaches the Starting Block, Offers Growth Opportunities for Agriculture.”
Wednesday, May 6, 2020
Closures and production slowdowns of several hog-processing facilities beginning in early April due to workforce absences caused by the COVID-19 virus decreased processor demand for hogs, reducing weekly hog slaughter numbers and driving April hog prices (prices paid to hog producers by processors) more than 35 percent below prices in April 2019. As of late April, the closures comprised more than a third of the industry’s processing capacity. At the time of the first plant closing, pork demand was already low, as much of the hotel, restaurant, and institutional sector had been shut down to block transmission of the virus. In 2020, between the weeks ending March 27 and April 24 (weeks 13 and 17 of the calendar year), prices fell $13 per hundredweight (cwt) as plants took measures to protect processing-plant workers from COVID-19, reducing the rates at which hogs were slaughtered. For the week ending April 24 (week 17), live hog prices averaged about $34 per cwt, the second lowest weekly price since November 2016, and significantly below most hog producers’ break-even price. Average prices for the week ending April 24 moved about 5 percent higher from the previous week, likely attributable to rapidly increasing wholesale pork prices (prices received by processors for sales of pork cuts), to which many hog sales transactions are linked. This chart is drawn from ERS’s Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Monthly Outlook report from April 2020 and is updated using data from USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service.