Report Shows Higher Hog Numbers than Expected

The U.S. Hog Inventory surprised a lot of analysts.

USDA's Hogs and Pigs Report that was released Friday caught folks by surprise with a much larger inventory than expected. Despite the fact that many hog producers are losing substantial amounts of money per head, USDA livestock analyst Shayle Shagam says that as of June 1 the hog sector was very much in an expansionary mode.

The report showed the spring quarter pig crop up 4% from last year, total hog and pig inventory up 6% and sows farrowing from March to May were up 2%. Numbers indicate producers are cutting back on farrowing 2% this summer and 4% this fall, but Shagam says some tough decisions lay ahead.

"Those farmers who are producing both corn and hogs may decide there is more money to be made selling the hogs now and selling the corn at harvest," Shagam says. "Those are decisions that some producers are going to be able to make, other ones who are strictly hog producers and buy their inputs obviously are going to have to make their decisions based on a different set of factors which is how much can you get for your hogs now versus how much are you going to have to pay for corn."

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