Market hog inventory, at 62.546 million head, was up slightly from last year, and up 3% from last quarter.
The June-August 2013 pig crop, at 30.210 million head, was up 2% from 2012. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 2.925 million head, down slightly from 2012.
USDA projects September-November farrowing intentions up half a percent. December-February farrowings are projected to rise about a percent. Those increases are a tab below the average trade guess.
However, add a 1% to 1.5% rise in pigs farrowed per litter. Pig crops over the next six months could easily be up 2% to 3% from last year. Factor in a pound or two more on carcass weights and you have another half to 1% rise in production.
Even with next year's beef production projected down 5.7%, a 2% to 3% expansion in pork output is about as much as the market can absorb without facing pressure on hog and pork prices. One reason is broilers are positioning to up production 2.5% next year. The broiler expansion pace could accelerate fairly rapidly once 2014 harvests are known and feed costs become more stable.