U.S. hog inventory slightly higher

The USDA says the 74.319 million head of hogs and pigs in the U.S. on September 1st was higher than most analysts’ pre-report expectations and slightly above year ago levels.

The year-to-year increase was due to a modestly larger market hog inventory at 68.241 million head and the industry’s continued improvement in farrowing efficiency. From June through August, farrowings were slightly higher than last year, with a record number of pigs per litter saved at least the fourth consecutive quarter at 11.61. The breeding herd was down 1% at 6.079 million head.

Numbers could get tighter in the coming months, with the USDA projecting lower farrowing intentions during the fourth quarter of 2023 and the first quarter of 2024.

52% of U.S. hogs were on operations with more than 5,000 head, an increase of 2% on the year.

The numbers look bearish near-term and bullish long-term, but that will also heavily depend on domestic and export demand.