GLOBAL - The quarterly 'Hogs and Pigs' report, due to be published on 23 December, could bring some surprises about the US pig industry, according to analysts. PED continues to impact the sector there, and the disease has now been confirmed for the first time in Europe - in Ukraine. Sardinia is working to eradicate African swine fever, while Foot and Mouth Disease has broken out again in South Korea.
The USDA's quarterly 'Hogs & Pigs' report is due to be published tomorrow, 23 December, giving an insight into the current state of the US pig sector.
According to CME analysts, Steve Meyer and Len Steiner, the total inventory of hogs and pigs as of 1 December is expected to be up 1.5 per cent compared to the previous year. This will be the first year-on-year increase in inventories since March 2013.
They highlight, however, that inventories dropped sharply last December as a result of higher feed costs in the late 2012 and early 2013, so the year-ago levels were unusually low.
If this forecast is correct, the December inventory will be around 65.7 million head, compared with 66.2 million in December 2012. The number of hogs over 180 pounds is expected to be down 2.5 per cent.
On average, Meyer and Steiner say, analysts forecast the pig crop during the last quarter to be up 3.3 per cent as a larger breeding herd in September and lower feed costs push up the number of farrowings.
They highlight one possible result: hog imports could be up as much as 20 per cent compared to a year ago.
"We could see a pig crop surprise in the report," they warn, as last year's figures were impacted by the spread of PED raising piglet mortality, gilt retention may be up and sow slaughterings may be down from a year ago.
Slaughter capacity constraints may be an issue, according to Meyer and Steiner.
Analysts at the University of Missouri, Ron Plain and Scott Brown, say trade forecasts have the breeding herd up 3.0 per cent and the market hog inventory up 1.3 per cent.
On pig diseases, it has been confirmed that the highly virulent Asian-American Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea (PED) virus has spread to Europe; it has been confirmed in Ukraine.
In the US, there has been a sharp increase in the number of new PED outbreaks reported in the last two weeks, possibly as a result of the cooler seasonal weather which tends to favour the survival of the virus.
The authorities in Sardinia have voted in favour of new laws aimed to eradicate African Swine Fever. An autonomous region of Italy, Sardinia is the only EU region to have the disease, which has cost an estimated €600 million over the last 30 years.
Two new outbreaks of Foot and Mouth Disease have been reported in pigs in South Korea.
ThePigSite team thanks you for your support this year and sends warmest wishes for the holiday season and 2015.
You can view the 'Hogs & Pigs' report by clicking here.
Top image via Shutterstock