US pig herd numbers fall

The latest USDA figures have shown a second quarterly drop in the US pig herd with the the US national pig herd falling 74.8 million head –  a 3% reduction since December 2020 and a 2% reduction compared to the same month last year.

AHDB analyst Charlie Reeve reported that both breeding pigs and slaughtering pigs had a year-on-year decline in numbers, with slaughter pigs recording year-on-year declines in every weight band, including a 3% decrease in the number of heavier slaughter pigs (over 87kg).

“This may be due to an easing in disruption caused by COVID-19, and pigs not having to stay on farms longer as the backlog shrinks,” said Mr Reeve.

US pig meat and offal exports rose in volume during 2020, although were lower during the final quarter of 2020.

According to Eurostat data, US pig prices reached €172.55/100kg carcass weight on 22 March, a rise  of54% on the same month last year.

Reeve added: “Lean hog futures have remained bullish according to industry reports, with the USDA pig inventory figures supporting the market sentiment of tighter supply. The amount of pork in cold storage facilities in the U.S. is reported to be low and this is also likely to support US pig prices further, as might bullish news surrounding a slow down in the recovery of the Chinese pig herd.”

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