Breeding herd declines as pork producers face increased pressure
The latest hogs and pigs report from the USDA signals contraction in the US hog herd. Not only did the total number of hogs and pigs in the US decline to 77.5 million head, but the breeding inventory in the US also dropped 3 percent from the previous year.
Altin Kalo is an analyst with the Steiner Consulting Group. “It is the smallest breeding herd that we’ve had since early 2018,” he says.
He says the reduction emphasizes the pressure facing US pork producers. “Uncertainty in the domestic market as far as demand is concerned,” Kalo says. “When is the demand going to start to kick in, obviously tied to the pandemic. What’s going to happen to export demand and is that going to hold together? And then you have the uncertainty regarding feed costs.”
The report is mixed for the markets, with the current market hog-inventory at or above expectations, the pig-crop numbers were above expectations. However, the decline in sow numbers should be beneficial.