USDA’s September Hogs and Pigs Report points to the possibility of larger hog slaughter in 2004 than in 2003, say Glenn Grimes and Ron Plain, University of Missouri agricultural economists.

September to November farrowing intentions are for only a 1 percent reduction from 2002 levels December to February farrowing intentions call for the same as a year earlier.

A 1 percent larger litter size for these two quarters will give a slightly lareger U.S. production for slaughter in the first half of 2004.

Current sow and gilt slaughter suggests the potential for some growth in the U.S. sow herd, say the economists. Sow slaughter from domestic sources for the first three weeks ending in September was down over 19 percent.

Total U.S. sow slaughter including imports of sows from Canada for these three weeks was up 0.3 percent from last year, but cull sow and boar imports from Canada during the last three weeks ending in September were up 104 percent from last year. Gilt slaughter for the first four weeks ending in September was down 1.5 percent from the same weeks in 2002. Grimes and Plain say the breeding herd was being reduced at this time last year, but the data suggests the breeding herd may have grown a little during this period this year.