We Will Not Run Out of Bacon or Pork Chops Anytime Soon
The United States has 5 percent more hogs in inventory according the Quarterly Hog and Pig Report. The hog and pig inventory as of June 1, 2020 was at 79.6 million head. Breaking down the numbers the breeding inventory was 6.33 million head which was down just one percent from the last quarter. To me that means pork producers do not intend to really cut back production because of COVID-19. We are not going to run out of bacon or pork chops anytime soon!
I remember in college the standard was you were doing a good job if you saved 8 pigs per litter. Just to point out how productive the pork industry is today, in this Quarterly Hog and Pig Report it was a record at 11.1 pigs saved per litter! This can be explained by how the structure of the pork industry has changed. Back then many operations farrowed and finished their pigs all on their farm.
One pork producer told me his pigs back then got sick at least twice a year, planting and harvest season! Pork producers were so busy trying to get the crop planted and harvested that less time was available to take care of the farrowing barn. Then Minnesota's Cooperate Farming Law was changed allowing pork producers to work together and build farrowing operations.
Larger farrowing barns were built with employees that take care of pigs. These employees like pigs, enjoy working with pigs and that is all they do. Plus, they are very good at taking care of pigs. Then from the nursery the pork producers that own the farrowing operation take the pigs back to their finishing barns and feed them to market weight. Plus they get the manure to fertilize the next crop of corn.