MANHATTAN, Kan. – U.S. pork producers are on the brink of adding a new ingredient to their information mix when the USDA begins releasing monthly hog reports Dec. 28.
It’s “a step in the right direction,” said Kansas State University agricultural economist James Mintert. “Research conducted at K-State in the early 1990s concluded that hog markets were information-starved relative to cattle markets. One suggested remedy was to publish Hogs and Pigs reports on a more frequent basis, similar to the monthly [USDA] Cattle on Feed reports.”
The USDA has published a quarterly hog report for years, but that left pork producers and processors with long stretches of time between official data – stretches of time in which market and production decisions could dramatically change.
The new monthly hog reports will provide estimates of sow and gilt inventories, the number of sows and gilts farrowed, and the number of sows and gilts bred, in addition to monthly pig crop estimates.
Of particular interest will be the estimates of sows and gilts bred since USDA has not previously collected this information – even for quarterly reports, said Mintert.
“The monthly reports should make it much easier to determine whether hog producers are expanding or liquidating herds. In turn, that means the hog market is less likely to receive a big surprise when a hog inventory is released,” he said.