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Shift to specialized pig production units continues

by 5m Editor
31 March 2007, at 1:15p.m.

US - Commentary on March 30, 2007 USDA Hogs and Pigs Report by Dr Mike Brumm, Brumm Swine Consultancy, Inc.

Friday’s USDA Hogs and Pigs report documented the relatively steady inventory status of the US swine industry. It also documented the on-going underlying structural changes in the industry.

The shift to specialized production units continues, with on-going statewide shifts.

For example, Iowa and Minnesota are the leading states for importing of feeder pigs as evidenced by the disparity between the breeding herd and kept for finishing inventory expressed as a percentage of the US inventory. These imported pigs come from Canada, Nebraska, Missouri, Oklahoma, North Carolina and lately, Illinois.

In the past 3 years, Illinois farrowed more pigs than were finished in the state, with the excess pigs exported out-of-state, most often to Iowa and Minnesota. The shift towards more farrowing than finishing in Illinois is somewhat surprising given the state is the number 2 state in the US for corn and soybean production. The lack of a significant cattle, dairy or poultry industry in Illinois relative to feed grain production suggests that Illinois grain farms rely heavily on exports from Illinois or industrial usage of the feed grains for their market opportunities.

The demand for quality pigs to fill nurseries, finishers and wean-finish facilities in Iowa and Minnesota continues as evidenced by the record setting imports of Canadian feeder pigs. In 2006, US producers imported just under 5.9 million feeder pigs from our neighbor to the north. Imports to date this year are running ahead of last year’s record pace.
In February, USDA released its estimate of the number of farms with pigs and the relative size of these farms. For 2006, 88% of the pigs were owned by 2910 operations that had inventories of 2000 or more pigs. The largest average inventory sizes were in North Carolina and Iowa. Two hundred sixty five (265) operations with inventories of 20,000 head or more controlled 63.5% of the US inventory.

View the full commentary here (pdf) including the numerous graphs and tables.

View the March 1 USDA Pig and Hogs Report here (pdf)