July 23, 2024

Indiana pork producers raising pig numbers

MCHENRY, Ill. — Indiana pork producers are planning to raise pig numbers, going against the U.S. trend for the spring and summer months.

According to the first-quarter U.S. Department of Agriculture Hogs and Pigs Report, Indiana producers plan to farrow more pigs than they did in the same periods a year ago.

That plan contradicts what the national numbers indicate, a decrease in planned farrowings over the next few months.

“Neutral for the short term and surprisingly positive for the second half of the year picture” was what Rich Nelson, chief strategist and director of research for Allendale Inc., a commodity trading firm based in McHenry, had to say about the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service numbers.

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.

“Certainly the discussion about farrowing intentions, the next two quarters of planned farrowings, that was a bit of a surprise, with the good declines,” the market analyst said.

Nelson said recent losses in the industry could mean that producers are slowing expansion of pig numbers.

“We can agree that producers are coming off of a recent loss cycle, with breakevens of near $100 per hundredweight,” he said.

“We have quite low hog prices compared with last year, even though we haven’t changed supply very much. So, the producer is discouraged in the short term, no doubt about that.”

But pork producers in Indiana are going against the grain when it comes to planned farrowings.

Indiana’s breeding hog inventory, as of March 1, was at 260,000. That is an increase of 10,000 from the same time last year.

Indiana producers intend to farrow 135,000 head of hogs in the March-May period, up from 120,000 actual farrowings in the same time last year.

June-August farrowing intentions for Indiana stood at 135,000, up from 125,000 actual farrowings in the same time in 2022.

Indiana producers boosted productivity in the first quarter. The pigs saved per litter for the December-February period was 11.02 pigs, an increase over the 10.95 pigs saved per litter in the December 2021-February 2022 timeframe.

The total Indiana hog herd was at 4.30 million as of March 1, up 50,000 from a year ago. The Indiana pig crop as of March 1 stood at 1.344 million pigs, up from 1.248 million a year ago.

Jeannine Otto

Jeannine Otto

Field Editor