WASHINGTON — On March 1, U.S. inventory of all hogs and pigs totaled 64 million head, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Agricultural Statistics Board, U.S. Department of Agriculture. This number is down 3% from March 1, 2009, and off 2% from Dec. 1, 2009.

Down 4% from the last year is the breeding inventory, at 5.76 million head. This total was down 2% from the previous quarter. Market hog inventory, at 58.2 million head, was down 3% from last year and down 2% from the last quarter.

Totaling 27.9 million head, the December 2009-February 2010 pig crop was down 2% from 2009 and down 2% from 2008. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 2.90 million head, down 4% from 2009 and down 6% from 2008.

Sows farrowed during this quarter represented 50% of the breeding herd. The average pigs saved per litter was a record high 9.61 for the December 2009-February 2010 period, compared to 9.48 last year. Pigs saved per litter by size of operation ranged from 7.40 for operations with 1-99 hogs and pigs to 9.70 for operations with more than 5,000 hogs and pigs.

During the March-May 2010 quarter, U.S. hog producers intend to have 2.90 million sows farrow, which will be down 4% from the actual farrowings during the same period in 2009 and down 5% from 2008. The number for intended farrowings for June-August 2010, at 2.89 million sows, is down 2% from 2009 and down 6% from 2008.

Hogs under contract owned by operations with more 5,000 head, but raised by contractees, accounted for 44% of the total U.S. hog inventory — down from 45% last year.