US pig numbers affected by PEDv
According to the latest figures published by the USDA, the US pig population stood at 62.1 million head on 1 June.
According to the latest figures published by the USDA, the US pig population stood at 62.1 million head on 1 June. This was down 5% compared with the same point a year earlier. The sharp decline in pig numbers was expected due to the PED virus, resulting in a higher rate of pig mortality. However, there has been a reduction in the number of new PEDv outbreaks which meant that pig numbers were only 1% down on the previous quarter. There were some interesting trends in the number of pigs saved per litter, with the larger operations recording a decline while smaller farms showed little change. This suggests that the impact of PEDv has been felt much more severely by larger producers, which account for most of US pigs, while smaller holdings have been able to protect themselves better. Overall, sow productivity was down 5% on the year, with an average of 9.78 weaned per litter.
The breeding herd was broadly stable, with only a marginal year-on-year fall to 5.85 million head, almost unchanged from the last report in March. However, slaughter pig numbers were 5% lower compared with June 2013, with a 6% fall in the lowest weight bands. Despite the disease outbreak, sow farrowings increased in the December to May period, being up by 1%, and forecasts suggest a 2% increase in intended farrowings during June to November. This suggests that, if PEDv can be controlled, there is potential for production to recover relatively quickly next year.