Record Hog Numbers; Little Reaction Seen

It was a record high, but since much of Thursday’s quarterly Hogs and Pigs report from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service came in near expectations, little market reaction was expected in Friday’s futures trade.

At 71.65 million head, total hog inventories in the US were the highest June 1 inventory since records began in 1964.  NASS said they were up 2.369 million, or 3.42%, from 69.281 million a year earlier.

The total hog inventory also was 729,000, or 1.03%, more than the March 1 inventory of 70.921 million.

Sources said the numbers were a little higher than pre-report estimates, but they were within the range of estimates, and the market considered it a hit for a quarterly report.





The USDA/NASS reported that the US breeding inventory on June 1 was 6.069 million head, up 90,000, or 1.51%, from 5.979 million a year earlier.  Breeding numbers also were up 1,000, or 0.02%, from 6.068 million head as of March 1.

Market sources said that for many, the rise in the breeding herd was a little surprising, and could weaken the resolve of some investors with long positions.

The number of sows that farrowed, or gave birth, during the quarter was 3.06 million, up 92,000, or 3.10%, from 2.968 million in the year-earlier quarter.  NASS said the sows that farrowed in the March-through-May quarter amounted to 50% of the breeding herd.

The average number of baby pigs saved per litter was 10.55, the second-largest March-May pig crop since estimates began in 1970 and was up 0.07 head, or 0.67%, from 10.48 a year earlier.

The number of pigs saved per litter rose with the size of the operation, the USDA said.  Farms having 5,000 or more head averaged saved pigs per litter of 10.6 head, while those with 2,000 to 4,999 had 10.3.  The numbers go down to 7.7 pigs per litter in operations having one to 99 head.

The number of pigs saved per litter also went up from a year ago at operations having 2,000 or more head.  Average numbers of pigs saved were down on farms with fewer hogs.




At 65.581 million head, the market hog inventory was the largest June 1 total since estimates began in 1964.  It also was up 2.279 million, or 3.60% from 63.302 million last year and up 728,000, or 1.12% from 64.853 million the previous quarter, the USDA said.





Fed cattle sales on the livestock exchange video auction Wednesday were very limited.  Two sets of heifers, totaling 320 head, sold in Kansas at $119 and $119.25 per cwt, with an average of $119.52.  This was down $3.48 from the previous week’s average of $123.00.  One group of Nebraska cattle sold at $120.

Cash cattle traded this week at $118 to $120 per cwt, mostly $119, down $3 to $4 from last week.  On a dressed basis, cattle traded at $189 to $190, down $6.

The USDA’s choice cutout Thursday was down $2.88 per cwt at $226.55, while select was off $2.51 at $210.16.  The choice/select spread narrowed to $16.39 from $16.76 with 125 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Wednesday was $148.70 per cwt, up $1.84.  This compares with Thursday’s Aug settlement at $147.17, up $0.77.