U.S. pork producers continue to produce more pigs from a smaller breeding herd, according to a USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service report.

The "Overview of the U.S. Hog Industry," reviews such things as efficiency and price trends, as well as changes in pork production operations' structure and size.

The current report compares 2008 production results to 2005. Among those findings, the U.S. breeding herd, which includes gilts, sows and boars, produced 18.7 pigs annually per breeding animal in 2008, compared with 17.4 in 2005. The gain comes primarily from increasing the number of litters per sow per year.

From an operation size standpoint, those that marketed more than 5,000 hogs in 2008 accounted for 88 percent of the pig crop versus 82 percent in 2005. Looking at all U.S. hogs and pigs, operations with more than 5,000 head in 2008 controlled 61.1 percent of the inventory.

While both sets of operations-- those with more than 5,000 head annually and those with less than 5,000 head-- continue to make advancements in litter size, the larger group continues to produce larger litter averages. In 2008, operations with more than 5,000 hogs averaged 9.48 pigs per litter, versus 9.10 in 2005. For the operations with less than 5,000 head, the 2008 average was 8.93 pigs per litter, compare with 8.66 pigs in 2005.

Read the NASS report.