The U.S. inventory of all hogs and pigs on March 1, 2022 was 72.209 million head, a 2.3% decrease from the year prior, and a 3% reduction from the December report.
Breeding inventory, at 6.098 million head, was down 1.9% from last year, while market hog inventory came in at 66.1 million head, a 2.4% decline from last year, and 3% drop from last quarter.
During the National Pork Board's webinar Wednesday, Steve Meyer, Partners for Production Agriculture, says the March report numbers were bullish in his calculations, especially for the second half.
"I thought we would move back to a little bit of growth in the breeding herd perhaps and I was expecting substantial growth in year-over-year growth in pigs per litter and farrowings per breeding animal," Meyer says. "USDA says we're not going to get that, and if that's the case, then these numbers are going to continue to stay tight and demand is excellent."
For the under-50-pounds weight category, there were 20.045 million head, down 1% from last year. In the 50-to-119 pounds group, there were 18.765 million head, down 2% from 2021.
In the 120-to-179-pounds group, there were 14.833 million head, down 3.5%. Finally, for the 180-and-over group there were 12.468 million head, a 3.8% drop from last year.
The top five states for hogs and pigs inventory are:
- Iowa - 23 million
- Minnesota - 8.6 million
- North Carolina - 8 million
- Illinois - 5.2 million
- Indiana - 4.150 million
Illinois was the only state that remained unchanged from 2021 while the other four reported decreased inventories.
South Dakota reported a record high for the March quarter, with an inventory of 2 million hogs and pigs, a 1% percent change from the previous year. Eleven states reported inventory decreases from 2021.
The December 2021-February 2022 pig crop, at 31.750 million head, was down 1% from last year. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 2.901 million head, down 1% from the previous year. The sows farrowed during this quarter represented 47% of the breeding herd.
The average pigs saved per litter was 10.95 for the December 2021-February 2022 period, compared to 10.94 last year. Meyer says this number was particularly disappointing to him.
"We had kind of shifted back to growth in the last quarterly report, plus 1.3%," Meyer says. "We had gone through a period with the COVID shutdowns, where we made decisions to not raise as many pigs per litter, but we've got a genetic capability out there that I think could be better than this, but the USDA is finding that we didn't do that very well and we didn't really improve that much in this quarter relative to a year ago."
United States hog producers intend to have 2.988 million sows farrow during the March-May 2022 quarter, down 2% from the actual farrowings during the same period one year earlier, and down 5% from the same period two years earlier. Intended farrowings for June-August 2022, at 3.031 million sows, are down 1% from the same period one year earlier, and down 7% from the same period two years earlier.
The total number of hogs under contract owned by operations with over 5,000 head, but raised by contractees, accounted for 49% of the total United States hog inventory, down 1% from the previous year.
All hogs and pigs and market hogs were within trade expectations, whereas trade expectations were higher for the breeding herd, pig crop from December to February, second intentions from March to May and first intentions for sows farrowed for June to August.
All inventory and pig crop estimates for March 2021 through December 2021 were reviewed using final pig crop, official slaughter, death loss and updated import and export data. The revision made to the December 2021 all hogs and pigs inventory was 0.1%. The net revision made to the September 2021 all hogs and pigs inventory was 0.6%. A net revision of 0.1% was made to the June-August 2021 pig crop.
A total of 4,654 operations from 28 states were surveyed for the March USDA Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report.