Pork producers have cut their herds, but not enough to guarantee better prices next year, according to the Des Moines Register. The USDA said Wednesday that the national inventory of all hogs and pigs on Dec. 1 was 65.8 million head, down 2 percent from last year.

Iowa's hog population dropped 3 percent from September to 19.3 million. A year ago, Iowa had 19.8 million hogs.

"I was hoping for about a 5 percent drop," said Sam Carney of Adair, president-elect of the National Pork Producers Council. Carney and other pork industry leaders have urged greater reduction in swine herds to bring production in line with demand to end more than two years of steady losses for the pork industry.

Steve Meyer, president of Paragon Economics of Des Moines and an adviser to the NPPC, said herds need to be cut more to ensure profitability. He says that sows now produce 9.7 pigs per litter, up from 8.8 pigs per litter a decade ago and 7.2 pigs per litter in 1975, making herd reductions more difficult.

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Source: Des Moines Register