Hogs & Pigs Report – ‘A Mixed Big’

The following report was prepared and written by Jeff Swenson, DATCP’s livestock and meat specialist. This report draws information from several sources, including trade publications, radio broadcasts, agricultural news services, individuals involved in the industry as well as USDA reports.

The USDA Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report released last week can best be called a “mixed bag” of news. On the bullish side, breeding herd was reported 3.3 percent lower at 6 million head. This is even lower than pre-report estimates. Productivity continues to increase, offsetting the lower sow inventory.

Pigs per litter September through November averaged 11.66 head for a 3.9 percent increase compared to a year ago. Farmers seem to be able to better manage some of the swine health challenges they have contended with in recent years, plus the sows culled during the last quarter were the lower producing individuals. In the meantime, we continue to deal with market hogs supplies greater than a year ago.

November pork production was 1.6 percent more than last year while harvest was 2 percent higher. Last week’s harvest continued the trend of outpacing last year. The estimate of 2.426 million hogs was 256,000 fewer than the week before, but 643,000 more than a year ago.

The pork cutout value was $2.09 lower last week, averaging $87.39.

Not surprisingly, with the increase pace of exports, frozen pork stocks have decreased. The most recent Cold Storage report showed November inventory 5 percent below October and 8 percent below November of last year.