US pig herd has risen since June but remains below 2020 levels

The total number of pigs in the United States, recorded on 1 September, was 75.4 million head, according to the USDA – a reduction of 4% compared to the same date a year ago, but 1% more than in June.

The number of breeding sows was down 2% on last year to 6.19 million head, down slightly from the previous quarter.

The number of clean pigs born between June and August fell 6% from last year to 33.9 million head.

And the the number of sows farrowing during this period was 3.05 million head, down 7%.

Duncan Wyatt, AHDB’s lead analyst for red meat, said that US pig producers are intending to farrow 3 million sows from September to November 2021, 4% fewer than actual farrowings during the same period in 2020, and 6% fewer than the same period in 2019.

“However,” said Mr Wyatt, “intended farrowings for December 2021-February 2022, at 2.96 million sows, are up 1% the same period one year earlier. This suggests the US pig herd may now start to recover. Together these numbers suggest tighter supplies in the coming months.”

The USDA has forecast pork production in 2021 to be 12.78 million tonnes, down from 12.85 million tonnes in 2020.

The USDA also recently revised up its forecast of 2021 Chinese import demand to 5mt (cwe) from 4.85mt because of faltering progress in the recovery of China’s pig herd.


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