The U.S. hog and pig population numbered 72.5 million head as of Jun. 1, down slightly from Mar. 1’s count and the smallest herd for the date since June 2018. The year-over-year decline of 1 percent was the smallest YOY contraction we’ve seen in seven quarters, however, possibly indicating U.S. producers are close to right-sizing the herd. Demand for pork in the export market may lead to more growth in the hog and pig population, though.
USDA is projecting 2022 pork production at 27.2 billion pounds, up slightly from the May estimate due to a higher slaughter rate in May but down 2 percent from 2021. Hog weight is up about 1 percent in 2022, partially offsetting the decline in animal inventory: Jan-May hog slaughter was down 4 percent YOY in terms of head but down 3 percent in terms of weight.
With the decline in supply, wholesale pork pricing has been resilient since the beginning of the year. Composite pricing averaged around $105 per hundredweight since February, and USDA is initially pegging June pricing at over $110.
U.S. quarterly hog population vs. pork exports
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