Market News & Headlines >> USDA Reports Smaller-than-Expected Hog Supplies

Last week’s quarterly USDA Hogs and Pigs report confirmed smaller hog supplies and also showed that liquidation of the breeding herd came to an end this fall.

USDA pegged the full U.S. hog herd at 96.0% of a year earlier, below trade estimates that averaged 97.2% in a range from 96.2%-99.1%, according to a Bloomberg News survey. In actual numbers, the hog herd totaled 74.201 million head, down from 77.312 million a year earlier.

USDA put the supply of hogs kept for breeding at 100.1% of a year earlier, matching the average of trade estimates that ranged from 99.6%-100.5% of a year earlier. In actual numbers, the breeding herd was 6.180 million head, versus 6.176 million a year earlier.

The Dec. 1 market hog inventory was pegged by USDA at just 95.6% of a year earlier compared with trade estimates that averaged 97.0% in a range from 96.0%-99.1%. In actual numbers, the market hog inventory totaled 68.021 million head, down from 71.136 million a year earlier.

USDA pegged the supply of market hogs weighing 180 pounds or more at only 94.0% of a year earlier, with hogs weighing 120-179 pounds at only 93.8% of a year earlier, with supplies of hogs weighing 50-199 pounds at 97.5% and supplies of hogs weighing less than 50 pounds at 96.3%.

The September-November pig crop was reported by USDA at 96.4% of a year earlier compared with trade estimates that averaged 97.2% of a year earlier in a range from  96.1%-99.4%. September-November farrowing intentions came in at 95.2% versus pre-report estimates that averaged 96.8%. The number of pigs per litter did rise to 11.19 or 101.3% of a year earlier compared with trade estimates that averaged 100.5%.

Farrowing intentions did not indicate producers are planning any herd expansion, with USDA pegging December-February intentions at 100.5% of a year earlier and March May intentions at only 99.2% of year earlier.

USDA did make significant revisions in its previous four inventory reports in this report, generally cutting inventory estimates. USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service has suspended in person data collection since March 20, 2020 due to the pandemic, which may be impacting the accuracy of its data.