USDA released a new quarterly Hogs and Pigs report on December 30. The report was seen as generally bearish. Hog producers are trimming swine herds and breeding inventory, but not likely enough to turn prices strongly higher.  

U.S. inventory of all hogs and pigs on December 1, 2009 was 65.8 million head. This was down 2 percent from December 1, 2008 and down 2 percent from September 1, 2009. Breeding inventory, at 5.85 million head, was down 3 percent from last year and down slightly from the previous quarter. Market hog inventory, at 60.0 million head, was down 2 percent from last year and down 2 percent from last quarter. The September-November 2009 pig crop, at 28.8 million head, was up slightly from 2008 but down 2 percent from 2007. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 2.97 million head, down 2 percent from 2008 and down 6 percent from 2007. The sows farrowed during this quarter represented 51 percent of the breeding herd. The average pigs saved per litter was 9.70 for the September-November 2009 period, compared to 9.50 last year. The litter rate equaled the record for pigs saved per litter set during the June-August 2009 period. Pigs saved per litter by size of operation ranged from 7.40 for operations with 1-99 hogs and pigs to 9.80 for operations with more than 5,000 hogs and pigs.