Swine Economics Report

by 5m Editor
27 March 2013, at 8:53am

US - On 28 March, USDA will release the results of their latest survey of the US swine inventory, writes Ron Plain in his latest "Swine Economics Report".

My estimates are that the breeding herd is 1.2 per cent larger than a year ago; the market hog inventory is 0.8 per cent larger; and the total herd is 0.8 per cent larger than in March 2012. My estimates of the 1 March market hog inventory by weight groups are: 180 pounds and heavier 101.9 per cent, 120-179 pounds 99.8 per cent, 50-119 pounds 100.4 per cent, and under 50 pounds 101.1 per cent of a year earlier.

December-February sow slaughter was down 1.1 per cent compared to a year earlier. The number of Canadian sows imported for slaughter was up 3.4 per cent. Adjusted for imports, slaughter of US sows was down 1.9 per cent, out of a sow herd that was 0.2 per cent larger than 12 months earlier. Our gilt slaughter data shows more gilts were retained this winter than last.

I anticipate no major revisions of USDA's December hog inventory estimates. Slaughter of barrows and gilts during December-February was down 0.3 per cent from a year earlier. USDA's December report implied fall slaughter would be up 0.1 per cent.

In their last inventory report, USDA predicted that December-February farrowings would be unchanged compared to 12 months earlier and March-May farrowings would be 1.9 per cent lower than a year earlier. I think that winter farrowings were down 0.0 per cent. I'm forecasting spring farrowings to be down 1.2 per cent and June-August farrowings up 0.7 per cent compared to last summer.

I'm estimating pigs per litter to have been up 1.1 per cent this winter. My estimate is the December-February pig crop was 101.1 per cent of a year earlier.

My estimate of hogs in the 50-179 weight groups implies that daily hog slaughter during the second quarter will be very close to year-ago levels. I expect hog slaughter during the third quarter of 2013 to be up 0.6 per cent on a daily basis compared to the number slaughtered in July-September 2012.

Look for fourth quarter 2013 slaughter to be up 0.6 per cent. I expect first quarter 2014 daily slaughter to be up 1.9 per cent compared to this year.

I expect live hog prices to average close to $65/cwt ($85/cwt carcass) in the second quarter of 2013 and $66/cwt ($86 carcass) in the third quarter. I'm looking for fourth quarter of 2013 to be close to $58/cwt ($76/cwt carcass) with $59/cwt ($78/cwt carcass) price average in the first quarter of 2014.