News Pigs

American sow herd more productive but smaller

June 28, 2024 - Matthijs Bremer

The size of the American pig herd has slightly increased. However, the sow herd did shrink. This is the result of weak American pig prices. However, a higher number of piglets per sow compensates for the shrinkage, as shown in the June count.

According to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the American pig herd has grown by 1% compared to the previous count. This represents a limited increase compared to the same period a year ago.

On June 1, the United States counted 74.5 million pigs in total. 68.5 million of them are market hogs. Additionally, the country has 6 million sows. Unlike the overall pig herd, the sow herd has decreased in size. Compared to a year ago, the country has 3% fewer sows. Most of the decline occurred earlier. Compared to the penultimate count, the decline was negligible. However, there is a 1.7% increase in piglet production per breeding sow.

Low pig prices
The relative stagnation of the pig herd aligns with the price trend of the American pig herd. The American pig price has improved since January due to a strong export position. At the beginning of the year, the pig price was $1.01 per kilogram. By Wednesday, June 26, the price had risen to $1.96 per kilogram. This is still not sufficient to offset the losses from earlier this year.

Matthijs Bremer

Matthijs Bremer is a market specialist in pork, beef, and poultry meat at DCA Market Intelligence. He also monitors the protein transition, keeping an eye on developments in cultured meat and meat substitutes.

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