PED Having Significant Impact on Hog Inventory, Says Economist

US - On 27 September, USDA will release the results of their latest survey of the US swine inventory. The report is much anticipated for indications of the impact of PED virus on hog numbers. My opinion is that PED is having a significant impact and my inventory estimates are correspondingly low, writes Ron Plain in his latest "Swine Economics Report".
calendar icon 24 September 2013
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My estimates are that the breeding herd is 1.0 per cent larger than a year ago; the market hog inventory is 2.8 per cent smaller; and the total herd is 2.4 per cent smaller than in September 2012. My estimates of the September 1 market hog inventory by weight groups are: 180 pounds and heavier 95.0 per cent, 120-179 pounds 97.0 per cent, 50-119 pounds 98.0 per cent, and under 50 pounds 98.0 per cent of a year earlier.

I anticipate downward revisions of USDA's June market hog inventory estimates. Slaughter of barrows and gilts during June-August was up 0.3 per cent from a year earlier. USDA's June report implied spring slaughter would be up 0.8 per cent. It appears that the average daily hog slaughter during September will be between 4 per cent and 5 per cent lower than last year rather than down 0.4 per cent as implied by the June survey.

The sow herd is growing. Adjusted for imports, slaughter of US sows during June-August was down 6.8 per cent, out of a sow herd that was 0.3 per cent larger than 12 months earlier. Our gilt slaughter data show more gilts retained this summer than last.

In their last inventory report, USDA predicted that June-August farrowings would be down 0.1 per cent compared to 12 months earlier and September-November farrowings would be 1.0 per cent higher than a year earlier. I think that summer farrowings were down 0.5 per cent. I'm forecasting fall farrowings to be even with last year and December-February farrowings to be up 1.0 per cent compared to last fall.

I'm estimating pigs per litter to have been down 1.0 per cent this summer because of PED. My estimate is the June-August pig crop was down 1.5 per cent from a year earlier.

My estimate of hogs in the 50-179 weight groups implies that daily hog slaughter during the fourth quarter will be down 2.5 per cent compared to a year-ago. I expect hog slaughter during the first half of 2014 to be down nearly 2 per cent compared to the number slaughtered in January-June 2013.

If I have over-estimated the impact of PED, then my market hog numbers are too low.

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