USDA cuts breeding inventory, raises pigs per litter in Hogs and Pigs report

An ag economist says the December Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report delivered both good and bad news for U.S. hog producers.

University of Missouri’s Scott Brown says breeding inventory dropped more than 3% from year-ago levels.  “Oklahoma, down 100,000 head,” he says.  “Iowa down 60,000; Texas down 30,000; Illinois, North Dakota, Colorado, each down 20,000 head in terms of breeding inventory.” Missouri sow numbers were unchanged from year-ago levels.

But, he tells Brownfield pigs per litter rose nearly 4% year-over-year.  “USDA told US 11.66 Pigs per litter for September through November,” he says. “That’s 3.9% above the same period a year ago, so more pigs and pig crop as a result of that, basically unchanged set through November.”

Brown says pork production continues to be more efficient.  “I think we’ve been culling the lowest performers, and it certainly shows up in things like pigs per litter,” he says.  “And those are the things that continue to happen that take us longer to get adjusted to where demand seems to be in the pork industry today.”

Market hog inventory was also up slightly from year-ago levels, but down slightly from the previous quarter.

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