US Hog Herd Grows As Breeding Herd Declines

The US inventory of all hogs and pigs on June 1, was a record 79.634 million head, up 3.909 million, or 5.16%, from 75.725 million a year earlier, the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service said Thursday in its Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report.

The June 1 number also was up 2.005 million head, or 2.58%, from the record high March 1 inventory of 77.629 million.  And, it was up from the average of 78.502 million head that was expected in a pre-release survey.

A market analyst said the report may have a bearish effect on futures market prices.




The number of hogs kept for breeding declined in this report to 6.326 million head, down 84,000, or 1.31%, from 6.410 million on June 1 a year ago and down 49,000, or 0.77%, from the March 1 total of 6.375 million.  However, the total was more than the 6.292 million that was expected.

The March 1 total was 26,000 head, or 0.41%, more than the 6.349 million head of a year earlier, so it’s evident that the reduced slaughter capacity from the COVID-19 pandemic had an effect on the plans of many producers, the market analyst said.  There were reports of thousands of head of slaughter-ready hogs being euthanized rather than sold for slaughter, and this may have affected many breeding decisions.




In fact, while the breeding herd was declining in the latest quarter, the number of market hogs was increasing.

The Hogs and Pigs report showed a record 73.308 million head of market hogs on hand June 1, up 3.992 million, or 5.76%, from 69.316 million a year earlier and up 2.054 million, or 2.88%, from the record-high 71.254 million on March 1.  The total also was more than the 72.204 million that was expected.

Market hogs by weight groups showed increases from a year ago in all groupings except those weighing less than 50 pounds.  Market hogs weighing less than 50 pounds totaled 22.160 million head, down 50,000, or 0.23%, from 22.210 million a year earlier and down 61,000, or 0.27%, from 22.221 million on March 1.

Hogs weighing 50 to 119 pounds on June 1 totaled 20.370 million head, up 677,000, or 3.44%, from 19.693 million a year earlier and up 517,000, or 2.60%, from 19.853 million on March 1.

Market hogs weighing 120 to 179 pounds on June 1 totaled 16.090 million head, up 1.694 million, or 11.8%, from 14.396 million a year earlier and up 704,000, or 4.58%, from 15.386 million at the end of the previous quarter.

Market hogs weighing 180 pounds or more June 1 totaled 14.687 million head, up 1.67 million, or 12.8%, from 13.017 million a year earlier and up 894,000, or 6.48%, from 13.793 million on March 1.




Fed cattle sold this week in the Plains at $95 to $98 per cwt on a live basis, down $3 to $7 from last week, and at $152 to $156 dressed, down $5 to $11.

The USDA choice cutout Thursday was down $1.43 per cwt at $208.26, while select was off $1.76 at $199.93.  The choice/select spread widened to $8.33 from $8.00 with 140 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

No contracts were tendered for delivery Thursday against the Jun live cattle futures contract.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Wednesday was $129.82 per cwt, up $0.70.  This compares with Thursday’s Aug contract settlement of $133.25, up $0.37.