With the current inventory of hogs and pigs pegged at 65.9 million, another record has been captured. The March, 2008 Hogs and Pigs report, issued Friday by USDA, revealed that total inventory was up 7 percent from the year-ago period. However, the number of animals kept for breeding remained steady at 6.13 million.

“Virtually all the inventory numbers are records for March,” says Steve Meyer, president, Paragon Economics. “There have been years in the past when we’ve farrowed more litters but the number of pigs we have on hand is certainly a record for March.”

“This is one of the most significant reports that we’ve seen in the last several years,” says Daniel Bluntzer, director of research, Frontier Risk Management. Bluntzer cites upward revisions in prior quarter slaughter numbers listed in the latest report. For example, the December, 2007 number was raised 1.8 million head. “This represents a 3.0 percent increase in the number of market hogs relative to what the market was expecting just three months ago,” explains Bluntzer.

Bluntzer does not expect the trend to slow down. “It looks like our supply of hogs will be 6-8 percent above year-ago levels through the third quarter of 2008. I could see a reduction in the fourth quarter just measuring against a significantly higher number in 2007 so it’s more of a play on percentages than it is anything else.”