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Hog herd down on year, but contraction might be getting slower

The U.S. hog herd has gotten smaller, but there are some signs that contraction might be slowing down.

The USDA says there were 73.8 million hogs and pigs in the U.S. on September 1st, 2022, up 2% from June 1st, but down 1% from September 1st, 2021. That was with 1% year-to-year reductions for both the market and the breeding herds at 67.648 million and 6.152 million head, respectively.

However, the breeding herd was only down slightly on the quarter and the market hog inventory moved higher, which might be signs that producers are starting to shift away from contraction thanks to improvements in demand.

Iowa had the largest herd at 23.4 million head, followed by Minnesota at 8.8 million and North Carolina at 8.3 million.

Farrowings for June through August of this year were 1% below the same period a year ago, with the pig crop also down 1% even as the number of pigs saved per litter was unchanged.

Farrowing intentions for September through November are expected to 1% lower, with intentions for this December through next February projected at 2% lower, both of which indicate tighter ready numbers for most of 2023, but maybe not as tight as some were initially anticipating.

The numbers look friendly for hog and pork prices, but that will also depend on demand.

Comparisons for listed Brownfield states:

Illinois: Total: 5.2 million head, down 4% from September 1, 2021; Market: 4.61 million head, 3% lower than a year ago; Breeding: 590,000 head, 11% less than last year

Indiana: Total: 4.4 million head, up 2% from September 1, 2021; Market: 4.15 million head, 2% higher than a year ago; Breeding: 250,000 head, steady with last year

Iowa: Total: 23.4 million head, down 3% from September 1, 2021; Market: 22.47 million head, 3% lower than a year ago; Breeding: 930,000 head, 3% more than last year

Kansas: Total: 1.93 million head, down 6% from September 1, 2021; Market: 1.77 million head, 6% lower than a year ago; Breeding: 160,000 head, 3% less than last year

Michigan: Total: 1.2 million head, down 2% from September 1, 2021; Market: 1.09 million head, 2% lower than a year ago; Breeding: 110,000 head, 4% less than last year

Minnesota: Total: 8.8 million head, unchanged from September 1, 2021; Market: 8.29 million head, slightly higher than a year ago; Breeding: 510,000 head, 4% less than last year

Missouri: Total: 3.3 million head, down 3% from September 1, 2021; Market: 2.87 million head, 4% lower than a year ago; Breeding: 430,000 head, 2% more than last year

Nebraska: Total: 3.5 million head, down 3% from September 1, 2021; Market: 3.09 million head, 3% lower than a year ago; Breeding: 410,000 head, 11% less than last year

Ohio: Total: 2.7 million head, up 6% from September 1, 2021; Market: 2.51 million head, 6% higher than a year ago; Breeding: 190,000 head, steady with last year

South Dakota: Total: 2.08 million head, up 3% from September 1, 2021; Market: 1.78 million head, 2% higher than a year ago; Breeding: 300,000 head, 13% more than last year

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