US hog herd races to seasonal record high


The quarterly US Hogs and Pigs report showed the number of swine on the country’s farms as of March 1 at 3.1% above the year-ago level, on target with the average of the estimates in the Urner Barry survey - but also at a record high for that date.

The US Department of Agriculture reported the all-hogs-and-pigs number at 72.908m head, compared with the average of analysts’ estimates at about 72.893m.

In the report, the USDA reported the nation’s swine breeding herd as of March 1 at 6.200m head, up 1.7% from a year ago.

Analysts had projected the breeding herd to be about 6.189m head, or 1.5% larger than a year ago.

Record pigs per litter

The winter pig crop was reported at 32.341m head, up 3.8% from a year ago and 0.2 percentage point above the average of analysts’ estimates.

The range of estimates was from 2.2-4.4% above the year-ago figure.

The number of pigs per litter for the December-February period was reported at 10.58 head, an increase of 1.4% from a year ago.

Analysts had expected the pigs-per-litter figure to be up 1.1% from the previous year.

The latest figure was a record high for that period.

Marketing herd

USDA reported the number of hogs kept for marketing as of March 1 at 66.708m head, or 3.3% above a year ago.

That was also a record high number for this date.

Analysts had estimated the number of pigs kept for marketing to be about 66.735m head.

Market impact

December-through-February farrowings were put at 2.4% above a year ago, about 0.1 percentage point below the average of the expectations.

Farrowing intentions for March through May were at 2.1% above a year ago, while the intentions for June through August were at 1.4% below the previous year.

The March-May number was on par with analysts’ estimates while the June-August figure came in slightly below the average guess of 1.7% over a year ago.

The data were considered generally neutral for futures on face value, but confirmation of the record supplies, along with other concerns, may put additional pressure on the market.


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