Spencer, IA: (Dec. 30, 2013) – Friday’s Quarterly Hogs & Pigs report showed the number of hogs & pigs on U.S. farms on December 1st down about 1 percent from one year ago, suggesting there will be fewer hogs headed to slaughter in the months ahead. The hog herd, at 65.94 million, is around 400,000 fewer than the average trade guess.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported the breeding herd at 5.7 million head, down 1.1% from a year earlier. Analysts had expected the breeding herd to be 1% larger. Trade sources say that, in spite of the cheapest feed costs in three years, hog producers remain reluctant to aggressively expand their breeding herds….yet.
Don Roose, with U.S. Commodities in West Des Moines, notes that the farrowing intentions rise in the months ahead, with the December-February farrowing intentions up 1% from a year earlier. That, he says, indicates plans farmers have to retain more sows for breeding in the future. Pigs from those farrowings will be marketed in early summer. Roose says that will offset some of the tightness in supply due to death loss from the PED virus.