The U.S. hog and pig population as of Dec. 1 was estimated at 77.5 million head, down 1 percent from both September 2020 (revised) and December 2019. The fourth-quarter hog count tends to be a bit lower than the Q3 number, reflecting increased slaughter during the fall, so today’s report was not a surprise as far as trend. However, USDA also lowered the counts for previous quarters in 2020, putting today’s estimate a bit below expectations.

U.S. pork production totaled 2.41 billion pounds in November, down 7 percent from October and down 1 percent YOY. The number of hogs slaughtered was actually down 3 percent from a year ago, but per-animal weight, at 294 pounds, was up 2 percent YOY. On average, hogs have been 3 pounds heavier at slaughter in 2020 than in 2019 and 5 pounds heavier than in 2018.

The U.S. exported 1.63 billion pounds of pork in Q3 2020, up 7 percent from Q3 2019. USDA expects pork exports remained elevated though Q4 but will dip about 4 percent YOY during the first half of 2021.

U.S. quarterly hog & pig population

Source: USDA
Posted by: Information Services
Our Information Services team assists our clients with understanding commodity and ingredient market dynamics. Using our extensive database of intelligence, we also produce regular commodity and commercial market publications covering supply and demand fundamentals, news alerts on events that shape the markets, and resource guides to give you a complete picture of the industries we monitor.