US pig herd increasing
As at June 1, the US pig herd was at 68.4 million, which was an increase of 2% on the same period a year earlier, according to the latest Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report from the USDA.
This figure was also up 1% from March 1, 2016 and the highest June 1 inventory of all hogs and pigs since estimates began in 1964. The total number of pigs available for slaughter was also up 2% from last year, and 1% from the previous quarter. Again, this was the highest June 1 inventory since the start of estimates in 1964. Breaking it down by weight band, all weights were up on a year earlier, with marginally more at the lower weight bands, suggesting that supplies of slaughter pigs will continue to increase throughout the year.
The March-May 2016 pig crop, at 30.3 million head, was up 3% on 2015, and was the largest March-May crop since 1971. The number of sows farrowed during this period was up 1%, and represented 48% of the breeding herd. At the same time, the number of pigs weaned per litter was at a record high of 10.48. All of these factors point to a growing US pig herd, both short and longer term. With the US being one of the EU’s main competitors on a global scale, this increase in production could affect the demand for EU pig meat.
Vikki Campbell, Senior Analyst
vikki.Campbell@ahdb.org.uk, 024 7647 8741