WASHINGTON – US inventory of all hogs and pigs increased to 64.9 million head as of March 1, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

Breeding inventory rose 1 percent to 5.82 million head, a slight increase from 2011 levels. Market hog inventory was 59.1 million head, an increase of 2 percent from the year-ago period, but down 2 percent from the last quarter.

The December 2011-February 2012 pig crop grew to 28.7 million head, an increase of 3 percent from 2011. Sows farrowing totaled 2.88 million head, up 1 percent from 2011. The sows farrowed during the quarter represented 50 percent of the breeding herd. Average pigs saved per litter reached a record-high 9.97 for the quarter, compared to 9.80 in 2011. Pigs saved per litter by size of operation ranged from 7.30 for operations with 1-99 hogs and pigs to 10.00 for operations with more than 5,000 hogs and pigs.

During the March-May 2012 quarter, hog producers intend to have 2.89 million sows farrow, a decrease of 1 percent from the actual farrowings during the comparable 2011 period and down 1 percent from 2010. Intended farrowings for June-August 2012 are down 2 percent to 2.88 million sows. This represents a 2 percent decrease compared to 2010.

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 in 2011.