U.S. Hog Herd Up Slightly, No Expansion Yet

The U.S. hog herd increased slightly this year due to better herd management rather than to producers expanding herds, analysts said after studying USDA’s Mar. 25 quarterly hog report.

Also the report forecast a decline in pig litters this year versus 2010, which could mean fewer hogs in 2012.

USDA reported 63.964 million hogs on U.S. farms as of March 1, up 0.7 per cent from a year ago. Analysts, on average, expected the herd to be unchanged.

“I would say that by Monday morning, the market is going to be looking at something else to be talking about. I don’t think it will trade this report very long because there isn’t anything that surprising in it,” said Ron Plain, agriculture economist at the University of Missouri, following release of the report recently.

Despite the slight increase in hogs, analysts said the report confirms that high feed costs are preventing producers from enlarging herds. The increase in the March 1 hog numbers was largely due to more pigs surviving to maturity rather than to herd expansion.



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