CME: Pre-Report Survey of <i>Hogs and Pigs</i> Report

by 5m Editor
24 March 2011, at 8:25am

US - Livestock market analysts expect this Friday’s quarterly Hogs and Pigs report from USDA to look VERY much like last year’s March report, write Steve Meyer and Len Steiner.

That is the major conclusion that can be drawn from DowJones Newswires’ pre-report survey of analysts, the results of which appear below. Analysts’ expect little change in any of the inventory categories. The 99.8 per cent expectation for the breeding herd would put it at 5.75 million head, 28,000 fewer than on 1 December and the lowest on record, breaking the previous record low of 5.76 million on 1 March 2010. A market herd at 99.9 per cent would put that number at 57.75 million head, the lowest number since March 2007 — back before the advent of porcine circovirus vaccines sharply improved pig survival and performance rates and drove significant productivity gains. Analysts apparently do not believe that the industry can stay on the path of 2 per cent litter size growth and apparently have some misgivings about maintaining recent breeding herd efficiencies since farrowing and farrowing intention numbers are all lower as a percentage of year-ago levels than is the breeding herd inventory estimate. The report will be published at 3:00 EDT on Friday. Look for our take on the numbers in Monday’s edition of DLR.

USDA’s March Cold Storage report indicates higher inventories of total meat and poultry versus both one year ago and last month. The data for all meat and poultry species appear in the table on page 2 (see link below). Of the major species, only the chicken industry was able to draw inventories down during February and only the turkey industry showed lower stocks than one year ago. The chart at right shows the monthly data back to 2000. Some items that we believe are important form the report include:

  • Stocks of all meat and poultry grew by 1.7 per cent during February and stood at 2.079 billion pounds at month’s end. That is 8.5 per cent higher than one year ago but we need to keep in mind that the February 2010 inventory of 1.916 billion pounds was one of the lowest monthly totals during the past decade. This month’s total is still well within the lower half of freezer inventory totals since 2000.

  • The largest percentage increase during February was for turkey at +17 per cent but at this time of year turkey accounts for a relatively small portion of the total. The largest unit increase in February was for pork at +39.3 million pounds. Higher ham stocks accounted for 44 per cent of the increase and this year’s late date for Easter is one reason for the large ham number.

  • The 578 million pounds of pork in freezers on 1 February is the highest figure since mid-2009. A normal seasonal increase from this point could take pork stocks to near record levels in April or May. Higher sales to Korea is one driver of this increase, though, as frozen inventories often do grow in preparation for higher export trade.

  • Chicken inventories remain high but fell by 7 per cent during February. Chicken companies’ recent reductions in growth (they haven’t actually reduced output yet!) and better exports both contributed to the decline. Leg products stocks were down 19 per cent for the month.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.