USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service issued its quarterly Hogs and Pigs report on March 29 and while total inventory in Iowa dropped for the third consecutive quarter, sheer numbers continued to run ahead of the same period last year.
The report indicated that Iowa had 22.6 million hogs and pigs as of March 1, down from 22.8 million on Dec. 1 and 22.9 million on Sept. 1, 2017. The March 1 inventory was up 5 percent from the previous year.
“The big three, all hogs and pigs inventory, breeding herd and market hog inventory all saw larger year over year increases than the national average,” said Iowa State University Extension livestock economist Lee Schulz. “This is the largest March 1 Iowa market hog inventory in the history of the data.”
Iowa’s December 2017-February 2018 quarterly pig crop was 6.16 million head, up 27,000 head from the previous quarter and 12 percent above last year. A total of 560,000 sows farrowed during this quarter. The average pigs saved per litter was 11.0, down slightly from last quarter. As of March 1, producers planned to farrow 550,000 sows and gilts in the March-May quarter and 560,000 head during the June-August quarter.
United States inventory of all hogs and pigs on March 1 was 72.9 million head. This was up 3 percent from March 1, 2017, but down 1 percent from Dec. 1, 2018.
U.S. breeding inventory, at 6.20 million head, was up 2 percent from last year, and up slightly from the previous quarter. Market hog inventory, at 66.7 million head, was up 3 percent from last year, but down 1 percent from last quarter.
The Dec.-Feb. 2018 pig crop, at 32.3 million head, was up 4 percent from 2017. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 3.06 million head, up 2 percent from 2017. The sows farrowed during this quarter represented 49 percent of the breeding herd. The average pigs saved per litter was a record high of 10.58 for the Dec.-Feb. period, compared to 10.43 last year. United States hog producers intend to have 3.08 million sows farrow during the March-May 2018 quarter, up 2 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period in 2017.
“The U.S. hogs and pigs numbers were in-line with the average of industry analyst pre-report estimates,” Schulz said “Actually, the average of analysts’ pre-report estimates went two for two on precisely pegging the all hogs and pigs and market hog numbers.”
The total number of hogs under contract owned by operations with over 5,000 head, but raised by contractees, accounted for 47 percent of the total United States hog inventory, down from 48 percent the previous year.