USDA’s September Hogs and Pigs report held no big surprises Friday.

All hogs were 59.62 million, which was 2 percent below 2002 levels. The breeding herd was 5.88 million head, which is the lowest on record, and 3 percent below last year’s levels. The market hog inventory was 53.7 million head and down 2 percent from 2002 levels.

Ron Plain and Glenn Grimes, University of Missouri agricultural economists expected the breeding herd to be down 2 percent and the market hogs and total inventory to be down 3 percent, so the report came in very near industry expectations.

However, weight break downs and farrowing intentions indicate that while the news for the immediate future is positive, the good news may not last. While the 180 pounds and over weight breakdown was down 5 percent, all other weight breakdowns were down only 1 percent from 2002 levels. This indicates that while supplies will be low in the interim, with productivity gains by the end of 2004, pork production levels may be running above 2003 levels, which could cause prices to tumble.

USDA, National Pork Board