An all-time record pigs saved per litter rate helped to upend analyst expectations for the quarterly USDA Hogs and Pigs report. The report released last Thursday found that while breeding inventory as of September 1st was down one percent from a year ago at 6.08 million head, the summer’s pig crop increased slightly at 34.2 million. That was as a result of a pigs saved per litter rate of 11.61, nearly half a pig more than a year ago and surpassing the all-time record rate of 11.36 set this past spring. The nation’s market hog inventory was also up slightly from a year ago at 68.2 million head, a two-percent increase from the spring. That resulted in a national hog inventory totaling 74.3 million head, up two percent on the quarter and 194,000 head more than a year ago, when analysts were anticipating at least a one-percent drop.
Missouri’s hog populations were slightly higher than a year ago, at 3.4 million head. Three million were destined for market, up three percent, while 30,000 fewer sows were kept for breeding, now totaling 400,000 head. Pig crop for the summer totaled 2.62 million pigs, up four percent from a year ago, with a pigs saved per litter rate of 12.2; only South Dakota posted a greater rate for the summer. An estimated 425,000 sows are expected to farrow in the next six months.