The U.S. fattening hog market was down 1 percent in the first seven months of the year, but heavier animals. Due to supply weight during slaughter, pork production was ultimately slightly higher than the same period in 2021.
Pig populations in the US have been declining since 2019. The total pig herd reached 78.5 million pigs. As of June 2022, 72.5 million hogs were counted, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). That’s a 7.5 percent decrease in the U.S. hog population.
The USDA expects pork production to remain low for the rest of the year. It is estimated that 1 percent less pork will hit the market in the third quarter and 2 percent in the fourth quarter. Pig prices are about 12 percent higher in the July-September period than a year ago. In the fourth quarter, prices are expected to be 22 percent higher than in the period from October to December 2021.
First half 2023
USDA expects a mixed picture in the first half of 2023. Pork production in the first quarter will be 1 percent higher than in early 2022. But in the second quarter, production will be about 5 percent lower. The USDA based this on swine herd stock and sow growth in its most recent quarterly report.
After a slight price drop in the first quarter of 2023, USDA expects pork prices to rise again in the second quarter.
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