The US sow herd is decreasing significantly


Financial losses of $40 per head are forcing pig farmers to increase the number of slaughtered sows.

Posted on Jul 28 ,10:10

The US sow herd is decreasing significantly

A smaller sow herd means fewer pigs for the year to come and that seems to be the case for the US pig industry. So far, the number of slaughtered sows in the country during the first half of the year has increased by 180,000 compared to the same period last year. "From December 1 to June 1 the USDA breeding inventory showed a decline of 152,000 sows. We believe that what is ongoing is a further reduction of the sow herd. The financial losses of many producers are unprecedented. Current losses of $40 per head on top of already many months of losses are accelerating herd decreases.
Compound that we are in summer when mortality increases due to high temperatures, while gilt replacements have slowed. All these factors lead us to believe the sow herd is decreasing significantly at this time. Fewer sows mean fewer pigs," commented Jim Long, President-CEO, Genesus Inc.
For the US pig sector, the months that are to follow "could cause some producers to trim their herds or exit the business", according to the latest Rabobank report. The bank mentions that, at this moment, "in the United States, live hog prices have dropped 41% year-over-year in early July, as meatpackers continue to work through a backlog of animals that could take months to process." These events could cost the US pork industry in the years to come, considering the fact that China keeps increasing the demand for pork and is expected to maintain the trend for the next two years at least.

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