H&P Report: Hog Herd Bigger Than Expected

Posted on Thu, 06/25/2020 - 15:30

USDA’s Hogs & Pigs Report estimates the U.S. hog herd at a record 79.6 million head as of June 1, up 5.2% from last year and 1.1 million head more than the average pre-report trade estimate implied. The market hog inventory at 73.3 million head was up 5.8% from year-ago and record-large for the beginning of June. The breeding herd at 6.3 million head was down 1.3% from year-ago levels.

Hogs & Pigs Report

USDA
(% of year-ago)

Average estimate
(% of year-ago)

All hogs June 1

105.2

103.7

Kept for breeding

98.7

98.2

Kept for marketing

105.8

104.2

 

 

 

Market hog inventory

 

 

  under 50 lbs.

99.8

97.3

  50 lbs.-119 lbs.

103.4

102.3

  120 lbs.-179 lbs.

111.8

105.2

  Over 180 lbs.

112.8

117.9

 

 

 

Pig crop (March-May)

101.4

98.7

Pigs per litter (March-May)

100.1

99.1

Farrowings (March-May)

101.2

98.8

Farrowing intentions (June-Aug.)

95.4

95.3

Farrowing intentions (Sept.-Nov.)

94.6

95.6

 

Sow farrowings remained on a record clip in the March-May period, up 1.2% from year-ago, despite Covid-19 market disruptions and backed up marketings. The number of saved pigs per litter at just over 11 head per sow farrowed were record-large during spring.

Producers signal they will aggressively throw the brakes on further herd expansion through summer and fall. In addition to the smaller breeding herd, summer farrowing intentions as expected to drop 4.6% while fall farrowing intentions are estimated to be down 5.4%. If producers adhere to their farrowing intentions, much smaller pig crops are coming – even with continued record pigs per litter.

Market hog inventories signal slaughter will run 12% to 13% above year-ago through early summer. But the inventory figures suggest slaughter rates should slow to about 3.4% above by late summer, though we believe that figure is likely too low given backlogged marketings. It will likely take into the fourth quarter of this year before slaughter rates drop below year-ago levels.

USDA made upward revisions of 2.2% (390,000 head) to the December 2019 all hogs and pigs inventory and 3.1% (198,000 head) to the September-November 2019 pig crop.