U.S. hog breeding herd moves slightly lower

The USDA’s Quarterly Hogs and Pigs shows the potential for at least some industry contraction later this year.

The U.S. breeding herd on June 1st, 2023 was slightly lower at 6.146 million head, generally in-line with pre-report expectations. The breeding numbers do show steady to higher numbers in several key states, even with relatively high feed costs and questions about industry impact from California’s Proposition 12, but the inventory was down in the two largest breeding states of Iowa and North Carolina.

While March through May farrowings were 2% lower than a year ago at 2.896 million head, the pig crop was 1% higher and there were a record number of pigs per litter saved during the quarter at 11.36.

Quarterly farrowings for June through August and September through November are expected to be 4% lower than last year at 2.942 million and 2.953 million head, respectively.

The market hog herd and the total U.S. inventory were both up slightly on the year. The market hog inventory was reported at 66.429 million head and the U.S. herd totaled 72.394 million head.

The influence of these numbers on hog prices is a question mark due to Prop 12 and fluctuations in pork demand.

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