Weekly Overview: US Pig Numbers: PED Costs Half a Piglet Per Litter

GLOBAL - The average number of piglets reared per litter and the number of animals in the feeding herd are both down, according to the latest quarterly statistics from the US, writes Jackie Linden. With the breeding herd slightly higher, are we beginning to see the impact on the market of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea (PED) outbreaks in the US over the last 11 months? Canada now has 44 confirmed outbreaks and PED continues to be reported in Japan.
calendar icon 31 March 2014
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The pig herd in the United States has dropped by three per cent over the last year, according to the latest figures from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

In the 'Quarterly Hogs and Pigs' report, released last week, the pig herd was shown to be 62.9 million – down three per cent on March last year and five per cent since the last report in December.

The breeding inventory, at 5.85 million head, was up slightly from last year, and up two per cent from the previous quarter.

Feeding herd figures showed a downward trend, likely linked to losses from Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea (PED).

Market hog inventory was down by four per cent from last year and the December 2013-February 2014 pig crop by three per cent.

While three per cent more sows farrowed, the average pigs saved per litter was 9.53. Last year, it was 10.08.

On the figures, industry analysts, Ron Plain and Scott Brown, comment that the situation was more bearish than the average of pre-release trade predictions.

On PED cases in the US, there are some signs of a slow-down in new case submissions and no new states have reported positive results in the latest weekly report.

In Canada, the total number of confirmed cases of PED has reached 44, 41 of these in the province of Ontario, where the latest confirmed case was announced late last week.

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