Hog numbers defied pre-report estimates in last week’s USDA Hogs and Pigs Report, creating a bullish outlook over the next few months.
The report indicated overall inventory numbers were 3.9% lower than a year ago, representing the lowest total in three years. Pre-report estimates has suggested numbers would be about 2% lower than a year ago.
“Declines across the market hog categories point towards tighter available supplies in the near term,” the Livestock Marketing Information Center said in its analysis.
Breeding herd numbers were down 2.3% (about 1% higher than estimates), while market hog numbers were down 4.1% from a year ago. Pre-report estimates were 1.8%.
The two lightweight categories of hogs (under 50 lb. and 50-119 pounds) fell 5.6% and 6%, respectively. Heavier hog numbers fell by around 1.4%.
Farrowing numbers were also down substantially. June to August farrowings were down 6.6%, with pre-report estimates in the 2.6% to 4.4% area. Pigs per litter numbers were very close to estimates.
“Lower farrowings were partially offset by the higher pigs per litter, which led to the June to August pig crop of 33.9 million head being down 6% from last year,” LMIC said in its analysis. “Industry expectations had the pig crop down 3.4% with a range of 2.1%-3.9% lower than a year ago.”
September-November farrowing intentions were down 4.5%, while December-February were up 1.4%.
Recent cold storage numbers indicate beef and pork inventories are close to 2020 levels on a total basis, except for boneless loins, picnics and bellies that are still more than 20% below last year. Hams are the only cut showing a gain in inventory over the past year, according to the LMIC.
Overall pork numbers are within 1% of a year ago, while beef totals fell by 8% from a year ago. The LMIC says beef cuts were slightly lower than a year ago, while boneless beef inventory was 8% lower.
“Larger beef inventories are a step towards more normal seasonality, but the jump from July was 4% and may be pointing towards some demand weakness as retail prices continue to rise,” the LMIC says.
Chicken and turkey numbers were both off 20% from a year ago.