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Veteran Advisor

Hog Report Data

From the Dow Jones Newswire:

KANSAS CITY (Dow Jones)--Federal data released Friday shows the swine breeding herd of U.S. hog producers grew slightly over the last three months and from a year ago.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported the nation's swine breeding herd at 5.788 million head as of March 1, up 0.5% from a year ago but nearly 4.0% below the five-year average. The breeding herd beat slightly analysts' expectations of about 5.77 million head in a Dow Jones Newswires survey.

In the quarterly hogs and pigs inventory report, the USDA put the total size of the U.S. hog and pig herd at 63.964 million head, up 0.6% from a year ago and 0.3% above the five-year average. The total herd slightly beat the analysts' expectations.

Corn prices, which are on pace to set a record high on an annual basis, are causing producers to cancel or delay plans to expand their herds, even though hog futures remain high enough through the summer months to generate a profit. Producers have concerns the margins aren't sustainable, particularly if hog prices decline in the fall when supplies of slaughter-ready animals traditionally expand.

Analysts said the latest data may pressure the nearby lean hog futures contracts but should be supportive for prices in the fourth quarter of 2011 and first quarter of 2012. Traders may look at strong world demand for meats to offset the modestly larger late spring and summer slaughter hog supplies.

Hog prices for 2011 are projected to average about 12% to 13% above a year ago, according to analysts participating in a panel discussion conducted by the National Pork Board following the report's release. Average price predictions for the year ranged from around $81 to as high as $89 per hundred pounds, and analysts said the risk for the market may be to the upside due to the strong world demand for pork and tightened supplies in some key pork producing countries.

"The market is really on fire" and has continued to prove its strength, beating expectations, said Daniel Bluntzer, director of research with Frontier Risk Management.

The June hog futures contract settled Friday up 2.5% at $1.0370 a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange along with strong gains in other hog contracts on expectations of record large pork exports along with seasonal strength in cash hog and wholesale pork prices throughout the spring and into early summer.

In the quarterly report, the USDA reported the number of hogs kept for marketing as of March 1 at 58.176 million head, up 0.6% from a year ago. Analysts had estimated about 57.75 million head for marketing.

The number of pigs per litter for the three-month period was 9.80, a 2.0% increase from year ago. The gain continues an ongoing trend of increased productivity as hog farmers incorporate improved genetic lines and management practices evolve. The increased productivity means the breeding herd needs to shrink to keep overall output flat.

The latest hog data broke a string of nine consecutive quarter of declines in the overall herd size, said Rich Nelson, director of research with Allendale Inc.

The expected number of sows that will give birth, known as farrowing intentions, for March through May is 97.4% of last year's level, while intentions for June through August are also 97.4% compared with the same period a year ago. The pre-report estimates were 98.6% and 99.5%, for March through May and June through August, respectively.

Hogs kept for marketings showed an increase of about 1% in the two lighter weight groups, or those animals born more recently, pointing to modestly larger slaughters during the third quarter of 2011 compared with a year ago. Marketings for the second quarter are seen nearly the same as a year ago.

-By Curt Thacker, Dow Jones Newswires; 913-322-5178;

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 25, 2011 17:12 ET (21:12 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2011 Dow Jones Company, Inc.
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5 Replies
Senior Contributor

Re: Hog Report Data

Well,  it sure wasn't me that increased.   I've got 10 sows left to farrow.   Should finish marketing hogs and harvest at about the same time.     We have decided that  we want time off.   We are tired of putting up with employees that don't want to work.    We are tired of moving pigs.    We are tired of the latest new rule to be allowed to raise or sell hogs.   Corn goes on and off the truck a whole bunch easier than loading and unloading hogs. 


Just took my TQA test today.   They now have the 4th edition of the TQA book.   After moving hogs for 45 years  it seems real silly to have to take a test on the  "pigs"   flight zone,  point of balance and blind spot.    I simply know to stand here or there to get the pigs to do what I want them to do  without having to think about it.    Husband's Poop School Certificate is good for 8 more months.   PQA+ is good for 2 more years.  


I think we may get rid of the DOT #.   Since we got it 2 years ago we have not delivered a single load of corn to an elevator.   1 load of beans to bean meal plant.    Don't need DOT to deliver hogs to local in state plant.   We should have enough bin space to hold all of our corn crop  unless yields go over 230/acre.   So we'll fill the bins at harvest and hire a semi to haul away. 

If we get DOT to hold off on new rule interpetation  should be able to haul any extra corn to new grain storage  being built 1 1/2 miles away with a tractor and wagon. 


Good luck to all who are staying in pork production.   I do plan on still doing some pork promotions  now that I'll have the time. 

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Senior Contributor

Re: Hog Report Data

Isn't it strange that TQA has a test and PQA doesn't? You would think that the Pork Board would have better use of the money than to spend it training people how to load hogs. Isn't that supposed to be the employer's responsibility? Guess we have too many that don't know the difference between a barrow and a gilt in the country telling us how to raise pigs. Hope that your free time isn't all spent promoting pork? Enjoy your winter staying warm in the house instead of plowing your way to the hog sheds. We're still in hogs, just diversifying a bit more every year.

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Hog Report Data

Reminds me of the beef check off---to many hands in the cookie jar just grabbing the money with little realization what it takes on the hands on production part--in short to many want to be big hats ! 

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Re: Hog Report Data

Producersgot more for their money though on the beef side. Haven't seen the beef checkoff recipients and beneficiaries out pushing an integrated industrialized model, encouraging expansion or rubber stamping a monocultural animal.


Seems to me that they have treasured the diversity that has always been North American beef and the independent producers and feeders that have made it so. Haven't wasted 15 years posing and positioning their product as a chicken substitute.


No better, probably, in pushing for shoring up and enforcement of P & SY, but better in a whole bunch of other ways.

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Re: Hog Report Data

Want a quick update on the Hog Report? Check out this video blog from AgStar :

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