The U.S. cash hog markets finished lower last week, with packer bids dropping to their lowest levels seen so far in 2018.

That from Tyler Fulton, director of risk management with Hams Marketing Services, who adds U.S. packers have struggled to maintain profitable operating margins, with increased competition from the new plants shaking up the competitive environment.  

He explained how forward contract prices have been performing.

"There's a little bit of softness in the forward prices recently. The Canadian dollar is actually helping things a little bit. What we've seen over the last month or so, lean hog futures have dropped off approximately five per cent of their value and consequently, that's shown up in the fixed forward values."

Fulton says wholesale pork prices moved higher late in the week, which resulted in a significant improvement in packer profitability for the time being.  

He notes producers should look to mitigate some of their price risk at current values, with a particular focus on the September to December timeframe.  

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