The March 2002 U.S. pig crop was 8.59 million head, 1 percent more than March 2001, according to USDA’s monthly Hogs and Pigs Report released April 26.

Sows farrowing during this period totaled 973,000 head, 1 percent above 2001 levels. The average pigs per litter for March declined to 8.83, compared to 8.87 last year.

The U.S. inventory of sows and gilts on April 1, 2002 was 6 million head, slightly above April 1, 2001. U.S. sows and gilts bred during March totaled 1.18 million head, up 1 percent from March 2001.

The slight increases from a year ago continue to run near expectations. Even though, the increases are minor, with increased numbers of Canadian feeder pigs and market hogs coming to the United States for slaughter, slaughter capacity will likely be pressed for at least a week or two in the fourth quarter.

This report showed fewer pigs per litter than a year ago, which would indicate the productivity growth of the late 1990s is leveling off. If this is the case, it is a positive for the fourth quarter, though why productivity would suddenly level off, is unknown.

Source: USDA