Things to Consider….
The latest US Cold Storage report reflected an overall increase in pork volume from the levels recorded for March, as the seasonal climb in hams offset declines in most other pork categories.
US Cold Storage reported pork stocks at 455.3 million pounds for April, up +0.9% or 4.2 million pounds higher than previously reported with current levels 156.0 million pounds or -25.5% under last year. For reference, total pork in cold storage for March was revised lower from 451.8 to 451.0 million pounds.
Total hams jumped 20.5 million pounds or +33.8% from last reported in a seasonal move however current stocks are 32.0 million pounds or -28.3% under year ago levels. Typically, hams in cold storage start to increase seasonally in April and continue trending higher to peak in September.
Trimmings in cold storage climbed 1.2 million pounds or +2.9% from March, but is 15.6 million pounds or -27.3% under year ago levels. Picnics in cold storage were 237 thousand pounds lower for April, with current stocks -3.1% under March levels and -45.5% or 6.1 million pounds under last year. Bellies were down 1.2 million pounds or -3.4% for April, bringing current stocks -57.6% or 46.5 million pounds under last year with April 2020 representing nearly a 7-year high for monthly bellies in cold storage.
Total loins in cold storage were 1.4 million pounds lower or -2.9% lower for April, with the bone-in variety lower while the boneless variety increased moderately. This brings total loins 5.7 million pounds or 14.2% over year ago levels, and considerably high for this time historically.Butts declined 3.6 million pounds or -20.0% from March, and 11.9 million pounds or-44.9% under last year.
Overall as indicated by the historical graph, total stocks remain at the lowest level in over a decade. Only in 2010 were pork stocks lower then what the market has seen over the last few months. With expectations of supplies to continue on the short side throughout the summer months, cash continues to provide the greatest opportunity for producers in the second and third quarter of 2021.