U.S. hog inventory dips slightly from previous quarter

US - As of December 1, there were 62.1 million hogs and pigs in the U.S., up slightly from a year ago but down one percent from the previous quarter.
calendar icon 28 December 2006
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The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service released its quarterly Hogs and Pigs Inventory report Wednesday.

Total breeding inventory totaled 6.09 million head, also up one percent from a year ago, but unlike total numbers, also up slightly from the third quarter of 2006. At 56.1 million head as of December 1, the trendline for total market hog inventory exactly mirrored U.S. hog inventory altogether.

Tuesday's report, says University of Missouri agricultural economist Ron Plain, was "a bit of a yawner," as the numbers came in virtually unchanged from pre-report estimates. Being well into the longest period of profitability in the hog industry in decades, Plain said Tuesday the U.S. herd is poised for a reduction just as many anticipated.

"We're in the longest period of profitability for hog producers since 1965," Plain said. "History says you need to start piling up some red ink before we start seeing a herd reduction. But, we're well on our way to cutting back."

A key indicator of this cutback through 2007, Plain said, will be in the reduction of Spring farrowing numbers, which will likely precede a dip in overall herd numbers.

Source: Agriculture Online
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