Feed prices, pig disease and death rates, rate of export, production and prices of competing meats such as chicken, winter weather and the market weight of pigs sold all affect market hog prices. Corn yields and prices affect hog prices indirectly by contributing to the feeding price.
Logistical costs, such as transportation and storage, have a direct effect on both market hog prices and the retail price of pork. Improvements in transportation, storage, packing and processing technologies lower the costs to consumers without harming the market prices paid to farmers. Large surpluses of stored pork lower both retail and market prices by increasing the supply.
Consumer demand for pork is a major driver of hog prices. The retail prices of pork products and price and quality of other meats both affect demand; beef and chicken are both more popular in the United States than pork. Beef has been the most popular meat since the early 1900s, and chicken's popularity compared to pork first appears in the mid-1990s.
Unlike beef, chicken or turkey, pork consumption per capita has been consistent since the early twentieth century. The differences in consumption rate come from growth in beef and chicken, not from a decline in pork.