University of Missouri agricultural economist, Ron Plain, predicts that both the breeding herd and the market hog inventory are 1 percent larger than on June 1, 2004. This comes ahead of USDA’s quarterly Hogs and Pigs report due out later this week.

In his weekly Swine Economics Report, he also expects summer farrowings to be unchanged from last summer, and fall farrowings to be 1 percent greater than last year. In addition, pigs per litter for this spring were 1 percent higher than last year’s levels, making the March-May pig crop 1 percent larger than a year ago.

As for hog slaughter numbers, Plain estimates that third quarter slaughter numbers will be 1 percent higher than last year, assuming Canadian pig numbers are close to year ago levels.

When it comes to prices, he expects live hog prices to average in the upper $40s per hundredweight in the third quarter of 2005. Hog slaughter is likely to be 1 percent above fourth quarter figures last year. If so, Plain says to look for October-December hog prices to average close to $42 per hundredweight on a live basis. He also expects demand to soften this fall.