US Swine Economics Report


Ron Plain - ThePigSite News Desk

27 December 2012


US - On 28 December, USDA will release the results of their latest survey of the US swine inventory, writes Ron Plain in his latest Swine Economics Report.


My estimates are that the breeding herd is 0.9 per cent smaller than a year ago; the market hog inventory is 0.7 per cent smaller; and the total herd is 0.7 per cent smaller than in December 2011. My estimates of the December 1 market hog inventory by weight groups are: 180 pounds and heavier 100.5 per cent, 120-179 pounds 99.6 per cent, 50-119 pounds 99.2 per cent, and under 50 pounds 98.5 per cent of a year earlier.


September-November sow slaughter was down 0.4 per cent out of a sow herd that was 0.3 per cent smaller than 12 months earlier. The number of Canadian sows imported for slaughter was down 2.6 per cent, so adjusted for imports, slaughter of US sows was unchanged from a year ago. Our gilt slaughter data shows more gilts retained this fall than last.


Slaughter of barrows and gilts during September-November was up 2.4 per cent from a year earlier. USDAs September report implied fall slaughter would be up about 1.8 per cent. USDA will likely revise upward the size of the March-May pig crop. I believe delayed marketings from the hot summer accounts for part of the higher-than-expected September-November hog slaughter.


In their last inventory report, USDA predicted that September-November farrowings would be down 2.7 per cent and December-February farrowings would be 1.5 per cent lower than a year earlier. I think that fall farrowings were actually down 2.5 per cent. Im forecasting winter farrowings to be down 1.5 per cent and March-May farrowings down 1.0 per cent compared to last spring.


Im estimating pigs per litter to have been up 1.0 per cent this fall. My estimate is the September-November pig crop was 98.5 per cent of a year earlier.


My estimate of hogs in the 50-179 weight groups implies that daily hog slaughter during the first quarter will be 0.5 per cent below year-ago levels. I expect hog slaughter during the second quarter of 2013 to be down 1.1 per cent on a daily basis compared to the number slaughtered in April-June 2012.


Look for third quarter 2013 slaughter to be down 0.5 per cent. I expect fourth quarter 2013 daily slaughter to be even with this year.


I expect live hog prices to average close to $61/cwt ($81/cwt carcass) in the first quarter of 2013 and $72/cwt ($95 carcass) in both the second quarter and the third quarter of 2013; and $62/cwt ($82/cwt carcass) in the fourth quarter of 2013.


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