Market News & Headlines >> USDA Expected to Report Further Hog Herd Liquidation

The livestock trade expects the quarterly USDA Hogs and Pigs report due out Thursday afternoon to show U.S. hog producers continued to liquidate their breeding herds  during the June-August period after suffering heavy losses during the first half of 2023.

The overall U.S. hog herd as of Sept. 1 is expected to be slightly lower than a year earlier. Pre-report trade estimates of the all hogs and pigs total average  99.2% of a year earlier in a range from 98.1%-99.8%, according to a Bloomberg News survey of seven analysts. At the average of trade estimates, the U.S. hog herd would total 73.564 million head, 561,000 below a year earlier.

Pre-report expectations of the number of sows kept for breeding average 98.7% of a year earlier in a range from 98.3%-99.0%. At the average of trade expectations, the Sept. 1 sow herd would total 6.069 million head, down 83,000 from a year earlier.

Trade estimates of the Sept. 1 market hog inventory average 99.3% of a year earlier in a range from 98.1%-100.0%. At the average of trade expectations, the market hog inventory would total 67.497 million head, 476,000 head below a year earlier.

USDA is expected to indicate the supply of hogs coming to market over the next six months or so will be steady to slightly larger than a year earlier. Trade estimates of the inventory of market hogs weighing 180 pounds or more on Sept. 1 average 100.2% of  a year earlier, with estimates of the supply of 120-179 pound hogs averaging 100.0%. Expectations for the supply of 50-119 pound market hogs average 99.5% of a year earlier, with expectations for the supply of hogs weighing under 50 pounds averaging just 98.7% of a year earlier.

Although estimates of June-August farrowings average just 96.7% of a year earlier, expectations for the June-August pig crop average 98.6% of a year earlier in a range from 97.9%-99.2%, with increased breeding herd efficiency expected to partly offset lower farrowings. Estimates of the number of pigs per litter average 101.9% of a year earlier.

USDA’s survey of farrowing intentions is expected to indicate producers plan to continue cutting farrowings during September-November and December-February. Trade estimates of September-November farrowing intentions average 97.8% of a year earlier, while estimates of December-February farrowing intentions average 97.7%.