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USDA Hog Inventory Friendly to Markets

posted on December 31, 2004

Mike Johanns, the designated Secretary of Agriculture, is scheduled to go before Congress next week for confirmation hearings. According to observers, Johanns will be asked about three major farm policy issues: payment limits ... country of origin labeling ... and packer ownership of livestock.

Concentration in the pork industry is especially acute, with but a few major packers controlling the majority of the industry. For corporate and independent producers alike, it's been a great year to be a hog producer, as USDA numbers out this week can attest.

USDA Hog Inventory Friendly to Markets To call USDA's December hogs and pigs inventory "friendly" to the markets would be an understatement.

Despite one of the most profitable years for hog producers in memory, the nation's pig farmers have refrained from the type of rapid herd expansion that normally accompanies favorable prices.

USDA's December inventory released this week shows all hogs at 100 percent of year ago levels ... the number kept for breeding at 99 percent ... and the number marketed at 100 percent. Those numbers all fell below trade expectations.

Analysts called the 1 percent decrease in the number of hogs kept for breeding especially bullish. When combined with a downward revision in fall pig production, the report would seem to bode well for spring and early summer lean hog and belly prices.

Tags: agriculture animals livestock markets news pigs pork USDA