Another Record Pigs Per Litter Ratio Keeps Hog Population Steady

A third-consecutive quarter with an all-time record for pigs saved per litter provided a boost to hog population totals in the December Hogs and Pigs report from USDA.  The quarterly update released last week indicated that 34.6 million pigs were farrowed during the fall from 2.97 million sows, resulting in an average litter size of 11.66.  The ratio was 0.44 higher than a year ago and 0.05 higher than the previous record set in September.

That resulted in the national hog population at the start of December totaling 74,971,000, a gain of just 15,000 head from a year ago along with a drop of 352,000 from September.  5,999,000 hogs were kept for breeding, down three percent, while the remaining 68,973,000 were destined for market.  Farmers expect to have 5,807,000 sows farrowing over the next six months.

Missouri’s hog population declined six percent in December compared to the previous year, with 3.15 million hogs on hand.  440,000 hogs were kept for breeding, in line with a year ago, while 200,000 fewer hogs were destined for market, totaling 2.71 million head.  2,457,000 pigs were farrowed in the fall from 210,000 sows, for a pigs saved per litter ratio of 117.  While the ratio was up 0.45 from a year ago, the pig production total was down five percent while 20,000 fewer sows farrowed compared to a year ago.  430,000 Missouri sows are expected to farrow during the next six months.

885,000 sows farrowed during the past year in Missouri, 30,000 fewer than in 2022.  However, production was up two percent at 10,077,000 pigs, resulting in a pigs saved per litter rate of 11.36, over one-half pig more than the average litter size a year ago.