WASHINGTON – A bigger-than-expected decline in the US hog herd during the second quarter of 2014 was attributed to the rapid spread of the deadly porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv), the US Dept. of Agriculture said on June 27.

The USDA report also said that declines in herd expansion occurred amid higher hog prices. The data in the report was seen adding to the possibility that hog futures traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange would climb as much as their daily price limit of 3 cents on June 30.

The USDA report showed the domestic hog herd as of June 1, 2014, at 95 percent of the year-ago level, or 62.128 million head. The total fell below analysts’ expectations of 63.2 million head, 97.1 percent of the 2013 herd.

The domestic breeding herd was 100 percent of the year-ago level at 5.855 million head in the second quarter of 2014. This compared to trade expectations of 5.99 million, 101.8 percent of the size of the second quarter 2013 breeding herd, which was 5.884 million head.

The June 1 supply of hogs ready for sale to packers was 95 percent of a year ago at 56.273 million head. Analysts had expected a smaller 3.2 percent decline to 57.31 million head.

Analysts had been expecting pigs per litter during the second quarter to be 9.8 head. The USDA data indicated pigs per litter at 9.78 head, or 95 percent of the 10.31 in the year-ago period.