USDA Quarterly Hogs & Pigs report numbers above analysts expectations

USDA released its quarterly hogs and pigs report Friday, reporting the total size of the nation’s herd at 66.348 million head, up slightly from the five-year average of about 66.287 million. The total herd was nearly 1 percent above the average of analysts surveyed in a Dow Jones Newswires survey.

USDA also reported the nation’s swine-breeding heart for December 1 at 5.817 million head. That was about 0.9 percent above analysts expectations.

The number of hogs kept for marketing as of the beginning of this month reported by the USDA were at 60.531 million head, unchanged from a year ago. That’s also over analyst expectations of 60.013 million head.

The number for pigs per litter for September through November period was 10.15, a 1.3 percent increase from a year ago.

For pork exports, the U.S. set a new all-time high last year and are on pace to do it again this year. USDA data shows shipments of pork and pork variety meats to international customers for January through October were up 3 percent from 2011 by volume and 6 percent in terms of sale value. USDA also reported that international markets account for more than 23 percent of U.S. production.