The last few weeks of data for sow and gilt slaughter indicates some building of the breeding herd, according to Glenn Grimes and Ron Plain, University of Missouri agricultural economists.

This could just be sample variation, because of split-sex feeding. However, with nearly 3 percent productivity growth on average for the past five years, no growth in the breeding herd is necessary say the Missouri economists.

Grimes and Plain go on to say the number of hogs slaughtered in 2004 in the United States was 103.55 million, up 1.9 percent from the previous slaughter record set in 1999.

Pork production in 2004 was up 2.8 percent from 2003, which was the prior record high. Pork production in 2004 was up 6.4 percent from 1999 and live hog prices were up over 54 percent in 2004 compared to 1999. This is just another measure of how strong demand for live hogs was in 2004, compared to a year earlier.