USDA released the December Hogs and Pigs Report today, which showed only slight increases in the breeding herd and total hog inventories from December 2004 levels. The December report includes all 50 states.

The numbers, collected as of Dec. 1, 2005, report the U.S. inventory of all hogs and pigs at 61.2 million head. That's up slightly from last December, but down 1 percent from the September 2005 report.

The breeding herd is reported at 6.01 million head, which is 1 percent higher than last year's levels, as well as for third quarter 2005. As for the market hog category, there are 55.2 million head, up slightly from 2004, but down 1 percent from last quarter.

Looking at the pig crop, the September/November period produced 26.1 million head-- a 1 percent increase from 2004 (2 percent more than in 2003.) Total sows farrowed was 2.89 million head, which equals last year's level. This again reflects the on-going productivity gains. Sows farrowed during this period represented 48 percent of the breeding herd. Pigs saved per litter averaged 9.03, compared to 8.96 in 2004. The results by size of operation ranged from 7.50 piglets for operations with 1 to 99 hogs/pigs up to 9.10 for operations with more than 5,000 hogs/pigs.

U.S. pork producers intend to farrow 2.88 million sows during the December 2005/February 2006 period, which is 1 percent more than the actual farrowings during the same period a year ago. Farrowing intentions for March/May 2006, are reported at 2.89 million sows -- up slightly from 2005, and 1 percent than in 2004.

Total number of hogs raised by contractees for producers who own more than 5,000 hogs, account for 39 percent of the total U.S. hog inventory, up from 38 percent from last year.

Other numbers of interest:

                                           No. of animals (million head)              Percent of 2004

All hogs and pigs            61.197                                                     100%

Kept for breeding            6.011                                                        101%

Market hogs                     55.186                                                      100%

Market hogs/pigs by weight:

Under 60 pounds           19,955                                                      100%

60-119 pounds               13.552                                                      101%

120-179 pounds            11.266                                                      101%

180 pounds and up       10.414                                                     100%

To view the full report, go to http://www.usda.gov/nass/PUBS/TODAYRPT/hgpg1205.txt

Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service