Larger Than Expected Decrease In September Hog Population

Hog populations across the U.S. increased two percent during the summer, but the total at the start of September was lower than what analysts were projecting.  USDA’s quarterly Hogs and Pigs report indicated that 73.8 million hogs were on hand at the start of the month, a net increase of 1.3 million head from June.  However, compared to a year ago, hog population declined by nearly 1.1 million.  The drop was uniform between hogs kept for breeding at 6,152,000 and hogs destined for market at 67,648,000.  The past summer’s pig crop was also down one percent with 33.6 million head farrowed from just over three million sows.  Pigs saved per litter was unchanged from a year ago, at a record of 11.13.  The population could decrease even further, as farmers anticipate fewer than 5.9 million sows farrowing in the next six months, down 1.5 percent.

Missouri’s hog producers saw a three-percent year-over-year decline in their populations, with 3.3 million hogs on hand to start September.  The drop was from fewer hogs destined for market, at 2.87 million.  Farmers are holding onto an extra 10,000 hogs for breeding, at 430,000.  Missouri held onto more hogs between 120 and 179 pounds, with 650,000 on hand compared to 605,000 a year ago.  Smaller weight groups saw reductions in their numbers, despite a five-percent increase in the pig crop at 2,461,000 head  10,000 more sows were farrowing this past summer, at 230,000 head, keeping the pigs per litter rate steady at 10.70.  Farrowing intentions are level with last year’s figures, with 445,000 sows expected to do so over the next six months.