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US hog herd sets record even more convincingly than expected

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The number of swine on US farms as of September 1 was 77.678m head, 3.4% above a year ago, according to the US Department of Agriculture’s quarterly hogs and pigs report released Friday afternoon. Supplies are at all-time highs.

 

The government’s all-hogs number was 363,000 head above the average of analysts’ predictions at 77.315m head.

 

The USDA reported the nation’s swine breeding herd as of September 1 at 6.431m head, up 1.6% from a year ago.

 

Analysts had projected the breeding herd to be about 6.412m, or 1.3% larger than a year ago.

 

Big litters

The summer pig crop was reported at 35.306m head, up 2.9% from a year ago compared with the average of analysts’ estimates at 2.4% above that of 2018.

 

The number of pigs per litter for the June-August period was reported at 11.11 head, an increase of 3.6% from a year ago.

 

Analysts had expected the pigs-per-litter figure to be up 2.4% from the previous year.

 

The USDA reported the number of hogs kept for marketing as of September 1 at 71.248m head, 3.5% above a year ago.

 

Analysts had estimated the kept for marketing figure to be about 70.870m head. This was also an all-time high.

 

Heavier hogs

Farrowing intentions for September through November were reported at 0.6% below a year ago, compared with the average guess at 0.6% over the previous year.

 

Farrowing intentions for December through February were reported at 0.1% below the previous year, versus the average guess of 0.6% larger.

 

The weight breakdown on hogs kept for marketing showed the heaviest category, or hogs that would be shipped in September and October, at 6.4% above a year ago.

 

The report showed an increase of 5.3% for the 120-179 pounders, 2.4% for the 50 to 119 group and 1.9% over last year for the under 50-pound group.

 

The report is viewed as slightly bearish for futures as most categories were above the average guesses.

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