In USDA’s first monthly Hogs and Pigs Report– released Jan. 26, the U.S. pig crop came in at 8.35 million head, 3 percent above year ago levels.

Sows farrowing in December totaled 940,000, which was an increase of 2 percent over December 1999. Productivity remains on the rise as pigs per litter was 8.89, an increase from 8.77 in December 1999. In addition, 1.19 million sows were bred in the month of December, according to the Jan. 1, survey.

In these monthly reports, USDA surveys a random sample of 3,100 U.S. producers throughout the country. Producers running “large” operations are more heavily sampled than those operating “small” units. The survey is conducted via mail, telephone and face-to-face interviews. Operations were asked to provide information on sow and gilt inventories as of Jan. 1, 2001. Data on sow and gilt breedings and farrowings reflect what occurred during December. Pig crop will also reflect December numbers.

It is possible that the more frequent reports may show more fluctuation from month to month, but overall show a more complete market picture.

Here’s a look at how the new information compares with year-ago levels:

Sows Farrowing (1,000 head) Pigs-per-litter Pig crop (million head)
1999 922 8.77 8.09
2000 940 8.89 8.35