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December Hogs and Pigs Report Analysis

The December Hogs and Pigs Report shows numbers sharply lower than expected for inventory, but the breeding herd was surprising. Iowa State University Livestock Economist Dr. Lee Schulz says this is the first time we have seen the breeding herd increase in two-and-a-half years.

“With that larger breeding herd, you would expect farrowing intentions to be larger or at least what that guess was in the September report. We did see that, so producers intend to farrow one percent greater numbers of sows if you look at the December-February number.”

The biggest takeaway from the report was those breeding numbers because experts expected it to be flatlined. But Dr. Schulz sees production in 2023 at the 2022 levels.

“For me, it’s maybe that retrenching of the industry, and going forward, we start to see expansion as we get into the second half of 2023 and into 2024.”

And for marketing prices; “But I think there’s gonna certainly be some opportunities as we get into seasonally-higher prices late spring into summer. Certainly, those margins look pretty good. And then you know, I think as you look at the cost side of thing which has really come into light the last couple of years, I think we’re starting to see those costs start to ease.”

Dr. Schulz reminded pork producers these numbers are evolving and not cast in concrete. Changes in feed costs or markets can influence the numbers reported in December. A deeper summary from Dr. Schultz and two other economists will be available at porkcheckoff.org in early January.

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