USDA's latest “Quarterly Hogs and Pigs” report was a bullish surprise, revealing the U.S. inventory of all hogs and pigs on September 1, 2021 was 75.4 million head, down 4% from September 1, 2020, but up 1% from June 1, 2021. The average pre-report estimate by the trade prior to the report's release was for only a 2% decline.
Breeding inventory, at 6.19 million head, was down 2% from last year, and down slightly from the previous quarter. Analysts had expected a 1% decline.
The average trade estimate for the market hog inventory was for a 2% decline, but the official number came in at 69.2 million head, down 4% from last year, but up 1% from last quarter.
The June-August 2021 pig crop, at 33.9 million head, was down 6% from 2020. While the trade had expected a 4% decline, USDA reported sows farrowing during this period totaled 3.05 million head, down 7% from 2020. The sows farrowed during this quarter represented 49% of the breeding herd. The average pigs saved per litter was 11.13 for the June-August period, compared to 11.06 last year.
The report also showed that hog producers intend to have 3.00 million sows farrow during the September-November 2021 quarter, down 4% from the actual farrowings during the same period one year earlier. This was also down 6% from the same period two years earlier. Analysts had expected a year-over-year decline of only 1%.
Intended farrowings for December 2021-February 2022, at 2.96 million sows, are up 1% from the same period one year earlier, but down 3% from the same period two years earlier.