The Agriculture Department has released its quarterly Hogs and Pigs Report, which brought surprising news. Contrary to earlier projections of a decline, the report indicates that total hog inventories actually increased during the third quarter.

Rising Hog Inventories

As of September 1, the total inventories of hogs and pigs grew by 194,000 head, reaching a total of 74.32 million head. This represents an uptick of 0.3 percentage points compared to the previous year's figures.

Breeding Herd Decline

Although the overall hog inventories rose, the report does indicate a decline in the breeding herd. However, this decline was less severe than what analysts had expected. The number of hogs kept for breeding fell by 73,000 head to 6.08 million head, resulting in a decline of 1.2 percentage points from the previous year.

Increased Marketing for Hogs

On a positive note, marketing for hogs showed growth compared to the same period last year. According to the USDA, marketing numbers increased by 268,000 head, totaling 68.24 million head. This represents a rise of 0.4 percentage points.

Surge in Piglets per Litter

An interesting highlight from the report is the significant increase in the average number of piglets per litter. In this quarter, piglets per litter reached an average of 11.61 pigs, compared to 11.13 at the same time last year. Analysts have suggested that this higher piglets-per-litter count will offset any reductions in the breeding herd.

Market Reaction

Following the release of the report, the most-active lean hog futures trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) closed the day with a 3.8% increase, reaching 75.525 cents a pound. Live cattle futures also experienced a positive trend, closing up 1.2% to $1.90425 a pound.

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