June 12, 2024

Illinois pork producers cutting back

MACOMB, Ill. — Illinois pork producers intend to keep making bacon — but a little less of it, according to the first-quarter U.S. Department of Agriculture Hogs and Pigs Report.

“There remains room for optimism longer term, given that lower farrowing intentions indicate hog supplies should remain tight,” said Jason Franken, associate professor of agricultural economics at Western Illinois University.

The first Hogs and Pigs Report of 2023 reflected, on a national level, an industry that is slowing expansion, at least through late summer.

Nationally, producers indicated that they plan to have 2.93 million sows farrow in the March-May period. That is down 1% from the same time a year ago.

In the June-August period, producers across the United States intend to have 2.97 million sows farrow. That is down 3% from actual farrowings the same time a year ago.

In Illinois, producers are putting the brakes on breeding plans. The Illinois breeding herd, as of March 1, stood at 660,000, up from 590,000 a year ago.

Despite higher breeding herd numbers, Illinois pork producers intend to farrow 240,000 sows in the March-May time period, down from 260,000 actual farrowings for the same period last year.

They intend to farrow 240,000 hogs in the June-August period, down from 270,000 actual farrowings the same time a year ago.

In the December-February period, Illinois producers farrowed 280,000 hogs, an increase from 260,000 in the December 2021-February 2022 period.

Illinois producers held steady on productivity, with 9.9 pigs saved per litter for the December-February period, compared with 9.9 pigs saved per litter a year ago.

The December 2022-February 2023 pig crop was 594,000 pigs, compared to 653,000 in the December 2021-February 2022 period.

The Illinois all hogs and pigs number was at 5.35 million as of March 1, compared 5.3 million a year ago. The Illinois market hog herd as of March 1 stood at 4.69 million, down from 4.71 million a year ago.

Franken said lower projected U.S. domestic pork consumption, projected by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service to be around 51 pounds per person in 2023, down from a December 2022 estimate of 52.1 pounds per person, and a slightly lower year-over-year quarterly exports for the rest of 2023 could factor into producers cutting back on farrowings.

The USDA forecasts that year-over-year pork exports are slated to be down 0.5% for the second quarter, down 2% in the third quarter and down 1% in the last quarter of 2023.

“The December estimate anticipated a return to pre-pandemic levels in 2019, with the current forecast, just slightly lower than last year, reflecting potential constrains of inflation and rising interest rates on consumer spending,” said Franken of the domestic consumption numbers.

Jeannine Otto

Jeannine Otto

Field Editor