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National Hog Farmer Weekly Preview
September 29, 2011
In this issue:
  Hogs & Pigs Report Slightly Bearish

Hogs & Pigs Report Slightly Bearish
By Steve Meyer, Paragon Economics, Inc.

USDA’s quarterly Hogs and Pigs Report, released Wednesday afternoon, indicates modest growth across the board for hog numbers and production. The fact that every key number in the report was slightly larger than analysts’ pre-report estimates leads me to believe it is bearish. But Wednesday’s pre-report sell-off may have largely accounted for the bearish impact.

Some key numbers and their implications include:

• The Sept.1 breeding herd, at 5.806 million head, was 36,000 head larger than last year and 3,000 head larger than on June 1. That growth is just about what I expected, but the 0.6% increase is somewhat larger than the average of analysts’ pre-report estimates, so it will put some pressure on deferred contract months.

• The market herd of 60.793 million head was 1% larger than last year and represents a pretty typical increase from June to September. The largest percentage increase was in the 180-lb.-and-over category with lighter weight inventories not significantly larger than last year.

• The 180-lb.and-over inventory agrees reasonably well with slaughter figures since Sept. 1.

• The report is very consistent regarding farrowings, litter size and pig crop for the June-August quarter. All three numbers fit together well and reflects a 0.7% increase in pigs saved during the quarter vs. one year ago.

• The report differs markedly from the June report in terms of farrowing intentions. While the year-on-year comparisons for farrowings in Sept.-Nov. and Dec.-Feb. are still smaller than is the year-on-year comparison for the breeding herd, they indicate farrowings at or above last year’s level and are, in my opinion, reasonable given the possible negative impact that this summer’s heat may have had on conception rates and, consequently, November and December farrowings.

• Actual June-August farrowings were indeed larger than was indicated by the intentions in the June report – by 34,000 litters. That number times 10 pigs/litter accounts for 340,000 pigs or 1.2% of the June-August pig crop.

• Farrowing intentions for the Sept.-Nov. quarter are 17,000 higher in this report than in the June report. While that number may be limited by summer breeding performance, I would not be surprised to see slightly more actual farrowings reported in the December report.

• Litter sizes keep improving at a steady 2% or so. The June-Aug. average for pigs saved /litter was the highest ever for that quarter, tying the all-time record of 10.03 set in March-May.

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The April 15, 2011 Blueprint edition of National Hog Farmer offers details on creating stable herd health by developing a herd health profile, provides a review of basic immunology and gives details on how to select the right vaccine. The final article looks at efforts by a consortium of swine disease researchers to understand genetic disease resistance.


The Sept. 15, 2011 National Hog Farmer magazine takes a hard look at mitigating swine manure odors, EPA’s push to regulate CAFOs, new technology for curbing dust in hog barns, and a special report on the 2011 Environmental Stewards award winners. Find these articles and video clips of the 2011 Environmental Stewards at


National Hog Farmer offers 10 posters targeting key production areas, offering guidance in critical areas such as feet and leg soundness and reproduction traits soundness in replacement gilts. Others include pig anatomy, heat detection, sow condition, etc. All posters are in English. Select posters are translated to Spanish, Chinese and Japanese.


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