Nothing Bullish About The Pig Report

Prepared and written by Jeff Swenson, DATCP Livestock and Meat Specialist. The Market Update draws information from several sources, including trade publications, radio broadcasts, agricultural news services, individuals involved in the industry as well as USDA NASS and AMS reports.

The Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report did not bring much in the way of bullish news. The breeding herd of 6.01 million sows is down just over 3 percent from a year ago but up 9,000 sows from Dec. 1, 2023.

Market hog inventory was 2 percent higher than last year. Efficiency continues an upward trajectory with pigs per litter nearly 2 percent higher than a year ago. Culling is not at a pace to offset the increase in productivity.

Looking further into weight categories, summer hog harvest will likely run 2 percent higher than 2023 and up 1 percent during the fourth quarter. Market hog supply will challenge packer capacity for the remainder of the year.

Iowa had the largest decline in breeding numbers by percentage with a drop of 10 percent. Missouri was down 9 percent and North Carolina saw a 4 percent decrease. Higher hog weights also indicate packers are having difficulty keeping up with supply. Last week’s estimated hog harvest was 2.421 million, making it 2,000 head more than the week before, and 91,000 more than a year ago. Pork supplies and less-than-stellar domestic demand weighed on the pork cutout last week as it lost $2.01 to average $96.29.


Pork exports posted another solid performance in May, but were below last year in both volume and value, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

May pork exports totaled 251,447 mt, down 4 percent from a year ago, valued at $715.8 million (down 2 percent). Shipments to leading market Mexico were below last year’s large volume but still trended higher in value, topping $200 million.

“Mexico was down on volume just a little bit… but we’re up a little bit on value. We continue to see
the benefit of seamless trade there, led by hams but we’re starting to see shoulder meat, picnics, butts,
we’re starting to see loins we’re starting to see more variety meats,” USMEF CEO Dan Halstrom says. “So it’s really broad-based growth on Mexico.”

May pork exports equated to $67.64 per head slaughtered, down 2 percent from a year ago, but the January-May average was still up 5 percent to $66.54. Exports accounted for 30.7 percent of total May pork production.