An important optimistic note emerged from USDA's September Hogs and Pigs Report. As of Sept. 1, the breeding herd had been reduced nearly 3 percent from 2007 levels. But, don’t celebrate yet; it is just a start.
Pork producers need to pick up the reduction pace. The breeding herd must be reduced and it must occur at a faster rate than has been demonstrated thus far, say agricultural economists. Several important indicators point to the need.
The current trouble posed by the
Several factors point to the prospect of export demand slowing. For one, the Olympics are over and
Even though a 3 percent breeding herd cut is a good start, the effect is mitigated by record high weaning rates, which will dilute the reduction. Also, the breeding herd cut applies to low-producing animals, and leaves behind the most productive sows.
“The number of pigs per litter will be nearly 2 percent higher in 2008 (over 2007) as extremely high feed prices have forced the industry to trim low-productive sows, and it's encouraged management practices to save more pigs,” says Chris Hurt, Extension economist,
“We still need to cut back more,” says Glenn Grimes, agricultural economist,
Adding to the urgency is the projected high production cost for the rest of 2008 and 2009, as well as record-high energy costs predicted for this winter.