USDA’s quarterly Hogs and Pigs report, released March 27, showed a 3 percent year-over-year decline in both market-hog and breeding-hog inventories. Considering the fact that hog producers have lost about $3 billion over the last 18 months, the decline in the inventories seems fairly modest. Producers say they will farrow 3 percent fewer hogs this quarter and 4 percent fewer this summer.

Through the first quarter of this year pork production was down 1 percent, and analysts expect pork production will be down percent during the second quarter and nearly 3 percent for the third quarter of 2009.

U.S. inventory of all hogs and pigs on March 1 stood at 65.4 million head, down 3 percent from March 1, 2008, and down 2 percent from Dec. 1, 2008, according to the USDA quarterly Hogs and Pigs report released March 27.
                                                                               
Breeding inventory, at 6.01 million head, was down 3 percent from last year and down 1 percent from the previous quarter.  Market-hog inventory, at 59.4 million head, was down 3 percent from last year and down 2 percent from last quarter.
                                                                               
The December 2008-February 2009 pig crop, at 28.2 million head, was down 1 percent from 2008 but up 7 percent from 2007. 

Sows farrowing during this period totaled 2.98 million head, down 3 percent from 2008 but up 3 percent from 2007.  The sows farrowed during this quarter represented 50 percent of the breeding herd.  The average pigs saved per litter was 9.48 for the December 2008-February 2009 period, compared to 9.24 last year. 

Pigs saved per litter by size of operation ranged from 7.30 for operations with 1-99 head to 9.50 for operations with more than 5,000 head.
                                                                               
U.S. hog producers intend to have 2.96 million sows farrow during the March-May 2009 quarter, down 3 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period in 2008 and down 2 percent from 2007.  Intended farrowings for June-August 2009, at 2.95 million sows, are down 4 percent from 2008 and down 6 percent from 2007.
                                                                               
The total number of hogs under contract owned by operations with over 5,000 head, but raised by contractees, accounted for 45 percent of the total U.S. hog inventory, up from 40 percent last year.

Hogs and Pigs:  Inventory March 1
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                                        2008      2009      2009 as % of 2008
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                                  ----- (Million Head) -----       
March 1 Inventory      
  All Hogs and Pigs        67.2        65.4          97%
  Kept for Breeding           6.2           6.0          97%
  Market Hogs                 61.0         59.4          97%
                       
Market Hogs and Pigs by Weight Groups    
    Under 60 Pounds      22.1        21.5            97%
    60-119 Pounds          14.5        14.1            97%
    120-179 Pounds        13.2        12.9            97%
    180+ Pounds              11.2        10.9            98%
                       
________________________________________________
Farrowings and Farrowing Intentions
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                                            2008     2009          2009 as % of 2008
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                                    ------------ (Million Head)------------    
               
Sows Farrowing
  Dec.-Feb.                          3.07     2.98                  97%   
  March-May*                       3.05     2.96                  97%    
  June-Aug.*                        3.08     2.95                  96%

*Farrowing intentions.

To look at the complete USDA March 2009 Hogs and Pigs report,  click here.

Source: USDA