WASHINGTON – The US inventory of all hogs and pigs on Sept. 1, 2012, climbed to 67.5 million head, a slight increase from a year ago, and up 3 percent from June 1, 2012, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) of the US Department of Agriculture.

Breeding inventory declined slightly to 5.79 million head and was down 1 percent from the previous quarter, NASS said. Market hog inventory, at 61.7 million head, gained slightly from 2011 and was 3 percent higher compared to last quarter.

The June-August 2012 pig crop eased to 29.3 million head compared to 2011. Sows farrowing during this period declined 1 percent from the 2011 total to 2.89 million head. The sows farrowed during this quarter were 49 percent of the breeding herd. The average pigs saved per litter was a record high 10.13 for the June-August period, compared to 10.03 in 2011, according to NASS data. Pigs saved per litter by size of operation ranged from 7.60 for operations with 1-99 hogs and pigs to 10.20 for operations with more than 5,000 hogs and pigs.

NASS said hog producers intend to have 2.85 million sows farrow during the September-November 2012 quarter, down 3 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period in 2011, and down 1 percent from 2010. Intended farrowings for December-February 2013 are down 1 percent to 2.82 million sows and down 1 percent from 2011.

The total number of hogs under contract owned by operations with more than 5,000 head, but raised by contractees, accounted for 47 percent of the total US hog inventory, up from 46 percent compared to 2011, NASS said.