Not much has changed in U.S. pork production from a year ago, according to USDA's June Hogs and Pigs Report. Nearly all of the production categories reveal numbers that are 100 percent to 101 percent of those noted on June 1, 2004.

"This will be a neutral report to the market, given the stats and the activity before the report," says Victor Aideyan, market analyst with "These expectations have been built into the market."

Indeed, analysts' pre-report estimates were nearly dead on with USDA's June 1 pig-crop report. The numbers showed the following activity on U.S. hog farms:

Category         Number            As % of 2004
                 (million head) 
All hogs and pigs    60.812         100%
Breeding herd         5.977         101%
Market hogs           54.83         100%

Farrowings and Intentions

March/May              2.87         100%
June/Aug.             2.902         100%
Sept./Nov              2.88         100%

As for market hogs, the near-term category (> 180-pounds), as well as the 120-to-179-pound weight group were 1 percent higher than 2004 levels. The 60-to-119-pound category and pigs weighing less than 60 pounds were unchanged from 2004 levels.

The March/May pig crop came in at 25.884 million head, up 1 percent from 2004. But most significant was the average litter size at 9.02 pigs. That's a record level.

"It's worth noting that the spread in average litter size between 'small' and 'large' operations was the largest it's ever been," notes Steve Meyer, Paragon Economics. "That's an important point from a structure standpoint."

To review a copy of the June Hogs and Pigs Report, go to: