Market News & Headlines >> USDA Seen Showing Further Hog Herd Expansion

Strong returns for hog producers in recent months have the livestock trade expecting USDA to indicate ongoing expansion of the U.S. hog herd when it releases its quarterly Hogs & Pigs report on Tuesday afternoon.

Trade estimates of the total U.S. hog herd as of Dec. 1 average about 1.4% above a year earlier in a range from 0.3% to 2.5% larger, according to a survey of 10 analyst by Bloomberg News.

Pre-report expectations of the number of hogs kept for breeding purposes average 2.9% larger than a year earlier, ranging from 2.0% larger to 3.5% larger. Estimates of the Dec. 1 market hog inventory average 1.2% larger than a year earlier in a range from 0.1% to 2.4% larger.

In actual numbers, the Dec. 1 U.S. hog herd would be 65.656 million head or 880,000 larger than last year if it were to come in at the average of trade expectations. The average of expectations for the breeding herd is 5.923 million head, up 166,000 head from last year, while the marketing herd estimates average 59.738 million head or 720,000 more than last year.

Trade estimates of the September-November pig crop average 3.6% above a year earlier, with estimates of September-November farrowings averaging 3.7% higher and the number of pigs per litter seen 0.2% lower than last year on average.

Estimates of producers’ farrowing intentions for both the December-February quarter and the March-May quarter average 3.6% above a year earlier.