US hog herd shrinks

by Meat&Poultry staff
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WASHINGTON – The US hog herd decreased 1 percent during the June-August quarter, according to the US Department of Agriculture's Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report.

Sows farrowing during the period totaled 2.91 million head, up 1 percent compared to a year ago. The sows farrowed during this quarter represented 50 percent of the breeding herd. The average pigs saved per litter was 10.16 for the June-August period, compared to 10.33 in 2013. Pigs saved per litter by size of operation ranged from 8.00 for operations with 1-99 hogs and pigs to 10.20 for operations with more than 5,000 hogs and pigs, USDA reported.

The inventory of all hogs and pigs on Sept. 1 was 65.4 million head, down 2 percent from a year ago, but up 6 percent from June 1. Breeding inventory totaled 5.92 million head, 2 percent higher than last year. Market hog inventory declined 3 percent to 59.4 million head, but gained 7 percent from last quarter, according to the report.

Farrowing intentions during the September-November 2014 quarter are up 4 percent (2.89 million) from the actual farrowings during the comparable period in 2013 and up slightly from 2012, USDA noted. Intended farrowings for the December-February 2015 quarter are 2.87 million sows, up 4 percent from 2014 and up 3 percent from 2013.

USDA reported that the total number of hogs under contract owned by operations with more than 5,000 head, but raised by contractees, accounted for 46 percent of the total US hog inventory, unchanged from 2013.

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