The April Hogs & Pigs Report showed a 2 percent increase in the pig crop from the previous year, which was very close to the trend from the March quarterly report.

The inventory of sows and gilts on April 1 was 6 million head, down from 6.065 million head a month earlier. During the month of March, 1.2 million females were bred, which was up from 1.14 million the month before. There were 988,000 sows farrowing in March, which was up 3 percent from February and up 1.4 percent from a year ago.

Productivity remains high, with pigs per litter increasing from 8.82 last month to 8.89 in the April report. This was an increase from 8.87 pigs per litter a year ago, but that number is well below trend and therefore bullish, according to Glenn Grimes and Ron Plain, University of Missouri agricultural economists.

Grimes and Plain say that the total breeding herd has increased an average of 112,870 head from March 1 to June 1 during the last eight years. The number of breeding females dropped by 66,000 in March, which might mean the breeding herd on June 1 would be closer to last year’s levels.

Pig Crop
Number (millions) % of a year ago
Mar. 01 8.78 101.7
Feb. 01 8.43 99.7
Jan. 01 8.30 104.1
Dec. 00 8.16 100.9

Sows Farrowed
Number (millions) % of a year ago

Mar. 01 .988 101.4
Feb. 01 .956 99.1
Jan. 01 .946 103.8
Dec. 00 .934 101.3