January Pig Crop Down 2 Percent: In line with expectations - UPDATED

US - February 2003 Hogs and Pigs report from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service and a report commentary by Ron Plain.
calendar icon 3 March 2003
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USDA February Hogs and Pigs Report

The January 2003 U.S. pig crop at 8.13 million head, was 2 percent below the previous year.

Sows farrowing during this period totaled 930 thousand head, 2 percent below last year.

The average pigs per litter for January increased to 8.74, compared to 8.73 last year.

The U.S. inventory of sows and gilts on February 1, 2003, was 5.81 million head, down 3 percent from February 1, 2002.

U.S. sows and gilts bred during December totaled 1.15 million head, down 3 percent from the previous year.

US Monthly Pig Crop

Report Tables

Special Note

Monthly farrowing and pig crop estimates are preliminary and may be revised in the Quarterly Hogs and Pigs Reports. Various factors can require revisions, such as sample variability, difference in reporting time-frame (monthly vs. quarterly), and pre-weaning and post-weaning death loss. Please refer to the Revision Policy of this report for more information.

Commentary on the report - Ron Plain

Ron Plain
Ron Plain

USDA's February hogs and pigs report was in line with expectations, which is good news. USDA said the inventory of sows and gilts held for breeding was 3.5% smaller than last February 1 and that producers bred 3.4% fewer sows and gilts during January 2003 than a year earlier. The number of sows and gilts bred has been below year-earlier levels for the last eight months according to these USDA producer surveys. Given all the red ink that producers accumulated in 2002, matings should stay below year-earlier levels for the rest of 2003.

Litters farrowed during January were down 1.7%. This is consistent with the winter farrrowing intentions in the last quarterly report (down 1.6%). Pigs per litter during January (8.74) were up 0.1% from a year ago. This is not much of an increase, but given the bitterly cold weather in January, it is higher than we were expecting. Nonetheless, the January 2003 pig crop was 1.5% smaller than January 2002.

The August pig crop (99.0%) implied that February 2003 slaughter would be slightly smaller than February 2002. Preliminary data indicate daily hog slaughter was up 2.4% in February. Part of the increase (0.7% by my estimation) was due to increased imports of hogs and pigs from Canada and increased sow and gilt slaughter. Without the extra females and Canadian pigs, slaughter would have been up 1-2%. It appears obvious that USDA will have to make some upward revisions in the size of last summer's pig crop on March 28 when they issue the March quarterly report.

The September pig crop (99.2%) implies that March hog slaughter will be close to that of last March. (Assuming continuing increases in female slaughter and imports of live hogs and pigs from Canada.) Terminal market barrows and gilts averaged $35.34/cwt in March 2002. We are expecting March 2003 hog slaughter to be up a bit, but prices to be close to last year's levels.

The October pig crop (97.4%) implies that April hog slaughter will be approximately 2% smaller than that of April 2002. Terminal market barrows and gilts averaged only $30.39/cwt in April 2002 during a period of weak hog demand. If April hog slaughter is down 2% from a year ago, look for live hog prices in the upper $30s this April. A 2% increase in April slaughter should leave live hog prices in the mid $30s.

The November-January pig crop (98.0%) suggests May-July hog slaughter will be down 1% or so compared to the same three months in 2002. This should mean live hog prices mostly in the low $40s. If slaughter comes in up 2%, look for live hog prices in the late spring of 2003 to average in the mid $30s, which would be close to the $35.26/cwt average for terminal market hogs in May-June 2002.

 SowsFarrowed Pigs/ --Pig Crop-- Females Bred
 000s %YrAgo Litter 000s %YrAgo 000s %YrAgo
 --------------- ------------ ------------
Jan03 930 98.3 8.74 8130 98.5 1150 96.6
Dec02 905 98.0 8.78 7946 99.4 1165 97.6
Nov02 926 96.5 8.83 8176 96.3 1170 97.5
Oct02 940 97.6 8.83 8300 97.4 1175 98.2
Sep02 951 98.4 8.85 8416 99.2 1145 97.8
Aug02 946 99.2 8.88 8405 99.0 1120 98.9
Jul02 949 98.8 8.86 8408 98.7 1145 99.1
Jun02 938 97.4 8.85 8301 97.4 1168 97.6
May02 982 102.5 8.81 8651 101.5 1170 100.4
Apr02 983 103.1 8.85 8700 102.6 1173 100.3
Mar02 978 102.0 8.80 8608 101.2 1181 100.5
Feb02 967 102.8 8.83 8543 103.3 1156 101.2
Jan02 946 104.4 8.73 8257 104.7 1190 101.8
Dec01 923 102.4 8.66 7994 102.4 1194 100.8
Nov01 960 103.4 8.84 8488 103.3 1200 102.7
Oct01 963 102.4 8.85 8523 102.5 1197 102.0
Sep01 966 99.6 8.78 8481 98.9 1171 101.0
Aug01 954 99.5 8.90 8491 100.0 1133 NA
Jul01 961 99.1 8.87 8522 99.3 1155 NA
Jun01 963 100.3 8.85 8526 100.6 1197 NA
May01 958 100.3 8.90 8525 100.7 1165 NA
Apr01 953 99.7 8.90 8481 100.2 1170 NA
Mar01 959 98.5 8.87 8503 98.4 1175 NA
Feb01 941 97.5 8.79 8273 97.9 1142 NA
Jan01 906 99.5 8.71 7887 98.9 1169 NA 

Reliability of February 2003 Hogs and Pigs Estimates

Survey Procedures: A random sample of 2,700 U.S. producers from contractors to independent producers were used to provide data for these estimates. Survey procedures ensured that all breeding and farrowing operations, regardless of size, had a chance to be included in the survey. Large producers were sampled more heavily than small operations. Data were collected during the first-half of the month by mail, telephone, and face-to-face personal interviews. Operations were asked to provide information on sow and gilt inventories as of the first of the month, sows and gilts bred during the previous month, sows and gilts farrowed during the previous month, and the pig crop from these litters.

Revision Policy: Revisions to previous monthly estimates are made during the quarterly report. These revisions are to improve month to month, and quarter to quarter relationships. In December, estimates for all months and quarters of the current and previous year are reviewed. The reviews are primarily based on hog check-off receipts and slaughter. Estimates will also be reviewed after data from the Department of Agriculture five-year Census of Agriculture are available. No revisions will be made after that date.

Reliability: Since all operations with sow and gilt inventory are not included in the sample, survey estimates are subject to sampling variability. Survey results are also subject to non-sampling errors such as omissions, duplication, and mistakes in reporting, recording, and processing the data. The affects of these errors cannot be measured directly. They are minimized through rigid quality controls in the data collection process and through a careful review of all reported data for consistency and reasonableness.

Source: February 2003 Monthly Hogs and Pigs Report - USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service
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