Disease and average weight for live hogs play the largest role in determining the market price for live hogs. Additionally, competition from other meats can also affect the market price for hogs.
The porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, also known as the PED virus, plays a significant role in determining live hog market prices. The virus was first recognized in 2013 and has killed countless hogs since. Whenever the PED virus becomes more concentrated, the supply of live hogs decreases, raising both demand and the market value. Other hog diseases, such as erysipelas and circovirus, cause similar effects on market prices.
The average weight of live hogs also exerts influence over market prices. For instance, 2013 saw record-setting weights for hogs. Though individual hogs sold for higher prices, buyers required fewer hogs as a whole, causing a surplus in live hog supply. Hog salesmen responded to this by lowering prices and exporting more hogs to other nations. As the average hog weight returns to normal, buyers need more hogs, thus raising both domestic and international live hog market prices.
Competition from other meats also affects market prices for hogs. When the price of pork rises, consumers often purchase other types of meat, especially poultry and beef. This lowers the demand for pork, which in turn lowers its market value.