The US pig herd reached a new record on December 1, 2015, hitting 68.3 million head, the highest since size estimates began in 1988, according to AHDB Pork.
Based on the latest hogs and pigs report published by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the December 1 total was 1%, or about 500,000 head, higher than the same point in 2014 and marginally up on September’s revised estimates.
Diverging trends across the different weight bands in December, however, suggest that while there may be an annual increase in slaughterings in the short-term, throughputs may drop below year earlier levels as we move further into 2016.
On the pigmeat front, the latest USDA cold storage report records that, as at December 1, there was 255,000 tonnes of pork in storage, 14% more than the same point in 2014, but 7% less than the previous month and 14% less than September.
“This would suggest that supply and demand is balancing out more,” commented AHDB Pork. “With the possibility of slight reductions in production ahead, the market situation for US producers could eventually improve.”