September 30, 2008
The US swine herd, including breeding and farrowing pigs, have dropped slightly in the third quarter of 2008, according to the USDA Hogs and Pigs report.
The breeding herd size fell 3 percent on-year to 6.05 million. Glenn Grimes, marketing specialist from the University of Missouri, said he expects fourth quarter slaughter to be up 2 percent on-year.
Grimes said average producers may achieve profits by the second and third quarter of 2009, provided that corn prices do not increase sharply.
Pigs saved per litter hit a record high of 9.51.
Jim Robb, director of the Livestock Marketing Information Centre, said, "We estimate US slaughter at 1.5 percent over year ago levels for the fourth quarter of 2008."
The centre, however, expects a drop in the number of slaughter hogs imported from Canada.
Hog prices in the fourth quarter may average about 14 percent above a year ago with a national average base hog price in the low to mid 60's per cwt on a dressed basis, Robb said.