USDA’s latest hog and pig inventory put the U.S. herd at 73.1 million head as of Dec. 1, down 2 percent from December 2021 and the lowest Dec. 1 total since 2016. This year’s mix of drought, high feed costs, and declining demand for U.S. pork in the world market led to the smaller herd size.

U.S. hog producers reported to USDA intentions to increase production slightly in 2023, planning to have about 1 percent more sows farrowing during Q1 2023 compared to 2022. Production in 2023 is not anticipated to surpass 2021 levels, however.

U.S. pork exports are forecast to hit 6.3 billion pounds by the end of 2022, down 10 percent from 2021, which still reflected elevated demand from China during its long recovery from the devastating outbreak of African swine fever in 2020. USDA is projecting exports in 2023 will be near this year’s level and a bit higher than the averages we saw before 2020.

Wholesale pricing in the U.S. for pork has come down since the summer’s very high levels, with estimated December pork cutout composite pricing at around $86 per hundredweight, down from $93 in November and even a smidge lower than year-ago pricing.

Posted by: Information Services
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