All numbers in USDA’s June Hogs and Pigs report came in very near trade estimates. The breeding herd inventory, at 5.91 million head was down 2 percent from June 2003 levels. The market inventory and total hog inventories were both 1 percent higher than a year ago.

The March-May U.S. pig crop, at 25.5 million head, was down less than one-half of one percent from 2003. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 2.86 million head, 1 percent below last year.

The average pigs saved per litter was 8.93 for the March-May period, compared to 8.88 last year. Farrowing intentions for June-August were 1 percent below last year’s actual farrowings for that period. Farrowing intentions for September-November are down slightly from the same period in 2003.

While there were no big surprises on the supply side, the big story in the pork industry continues to be on the demand side of the equation. The incredible pork demand, probably due to the popularity of high-protein diets, should keep the price of pork and live hogs strong through the end of the year. Economists Chuck Leavitt, Alaraon Trading; James Mintert, Kansas State University and Robin Fuller, Tallgrass Consulting, all predicted the unusually strong pork prices would continue, when asked for a National Pork Board commodity roundtable.

Source: USDA, National Pork Board