U.S. hog inventory falls 4%
The USDA says the total number of hogs and pigs in the U.S. on December 1st, 2021 was 74.201 million head, down 4% from December 1st, 2020. That reflects a higher slaughter pace and lower breeding rate as producers tried to meet demand expectations while improving profitability.
The market hog inventory was 68.021 million head, 4% below a year ago, with the breeding herd at 6.18 million head, up slightly on the year. For the market category, by weight, hogs and pigs weighing less than 50 pounds were 21.174 million head, and 4%, and the 50 to 119 pound category was 19.185 million head, 3% lower, while the 120 to 179 pound category was 14.809 million head and the number of hogs and pigs weighing more than 180 pounds was 12.853 million head, both 6% below last year.
September to November sow farrowings fell 5% to 3.012 million head and the pig crop was 4% lower at 33.712 million head, but there were a record number of pigs saved per litter, averaging 11.19 head.
December 2021 through February 2022 farrowing intentions are projected to be modestly above a year ago at 2.943 million head, while March through May 2022 intentions are expected to be 1% smaller at 3.01 million head.
The number of hogs on contract operations with more than 5,000 head accounted for 47% of the total inventory, a year-to-year decline of 1%.
The numbers look friendly for prices, but that will also depend on demand.