USDA’s March Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report came in near industry expectations in all major categories, so little immediate reaction is expected from the futures or cash market.

U.S. inventory of all hogs and pigs on March 1, 2003 was 58.1 million head, down 2 percent from March 1, 2002 and 2 percent from Dec. 1, 2002. Breeding inventory at 5.96 million head was down 4 percent from March 1, 2002, and down 1 percent from last quarter. Market hog inventory, at 52.2 million head, was 2 percent below March 2002 levels and 3 percent below last quarter.

The December 2002-February 2003 U.S. pig crop, at 24.4 million head, was 2 percent less than 2002, and 2 percent more than 2001. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 2.77 million head, 2 percent below last year. The sows farrowed during this quarter represented 46 percent of the breeding herd. The average pigs per litter was 8.81 pigs saved per litter for the December 2002-February 2003 period, compared to 8.74 last year. Pigs saved per litter by size of operation ranged from 7.60 for operations with 1-99 hogs to 8.90 for operations with more than 5,000 hogs and pigs.

U.S. hog producers intend to have 2.84 million sows farrow during the March-May 2003 quarter, 3 percent below the actual farrowings during the same period in 2002, and 1 percent below 2001. Intended farrowings for June-August 2003, at 2.79 million sows, are 3 percent below the same period in both 2002 and 2001.

The total number of hogs under contract, owned by operations with over 5,000 head, but raised by contractees, accounted for 35 percent of the total U.S. hog inventory, up from 31 percent last year.