US Swine Economics Report

US - On 26 March, USDA will release the results of their latest survey of the US swine inventory, reports Ron Plain in his Swine Economics Report.
calendar icon 24 March 2010
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My estimates are that the breeding herd is 2.2 per cent smaller than a year ago; the market hog inventory is 1.2 per cent smaller; and the total herd is 1.3 per cent smaller than in March 2009. My estimates of the 1 March market hog inventory by weight groups are: 180 pounds and heavier 98.8 per cent, 120-179 pounds 98.0 per cent, 50-119 pounds 98.5 per cent, and under 50 pounds 99.4 per cent of a year earlier.

Slaughter of barrows and gilts was down 4.0 per cent during December-February due in small part to a 14 per cent drop in slaughter hogs imports from Canada. Slaughter of US raised barrows and gilts was about 2 per cent lower than implied by the December inventory report. Look for USDA to revise downward their estimates of the December market hog inventory, June-August farrowings and June-August pig crop.

In their last inventory report, USDA predicted that December-February farrowings would be 1.9 per cent smaller than a year ago and March–May farrowings would be 2.8 per cent lower than a year earlier. I estimate that winter farrowings were down 2.0 per cent. I am forecasting spring farrowings will be down 2.5 per cent and summer farrowings to be down 1.1 per cent compared to June-August 2009. Despite a lot of red ink, sow slaughter has been fairly stable during the last 6 months. September-November sow slaughter was down 1.7 per cent and December-February was down 2.4 per cent compared to 12 months earlier. These are smaller declines than the number of sows available for slaughter.

I believe pigs per litter were up 1.9 per cent this winter. My estimate is the December-February pig crop was 99.9 per cent of a year earlier. Feeder pig imports during December-February were 8.6 per cent below last winter’s level, so the light weight inventory should be down more than the pig crop.

My estimate of hogs in the 50-179 weight groups implies that second quarter hog slaughter will be roughly 2 per cent below year-ago levels, if as expected, the inflow of slaughter hogs from Canada continues to be down. I expect hog slaughter during the third quarter of 2010 to be 1 per cent lower than the number slaughtered in July-September 2009. I expect live hog prices to average close to $54/cwt ($72/cwt carcass) in both the second and third quarters of 2010.

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