US swine inventory expected to further decline - USDA ERS

May 20, 2024

It is generally acknowledged that 2023 was a difficult year for US hog producers, according to the most recent USDA Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook report. Iowa State University calculates that monthly producer losses last year averaged more than $24 per head.

The December 2023 Quarterly Hogs and Pigs showed a year-over-year reduction in the December 1 breeding inventory of more than 3%. Sow slaughter data issued weekly by USDA suggests that reductions in the US breeding inventory are likely continuing. 

For weeks 1–7 of 2024, USDA data show that sow and boar slaughter increased about 5.8% over the same period last year. A continuation of the trend established in the first 7 weeks of 2024 would further downsize the inventory of breeding animals. Fewer breeding animals usually means fewer farrowings, which are typically associated with smaller pig crops, depending on litter rates. In general, smaller pig crops usually result in higher hog prices.

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