USDA released the estimates for the combined US and Canada swine herds this afternoon. The US numbers are based on the quarterly USDA Hogs and Pigs report while the Canadian numbers are from Canada Statistics semi-annual inventory report. US numbers are for December 1 and June 1 while Canadian numbers are for January 1 and July 1.
While the US and Canadian industries are in separate countries, the publication of the joint inventory estimates reflects the very close linkages between the countries. We rely on Canadian feeder pigs to fill Midwest production facilities and the Canadians rely on the US markets as the basis for all of their risk management strategies, etc.
For the December 2014 and January 2015 combined inventory there are an estimated 7.189 million pigs kept for breeding. This is the highest end of year breeding herd inventory since December 2008 and January 2009 when the number was 7.456 million pigs and is 101.8% of the inventory 1 year ago.
The kept for market inventory of 72.027 million pigs was the largest since December 2007 and January 2008 for the combined inventories. This number is 101.9% of the inventory 1 year ago.
In the case of the Canadian numbers, all hogs and pigs on-farm on January 1 were 13.165 million pigs, up 102% from the January 1, 2014 estimate. The July 1 through December 31, 2014 pig crop was 13.606 million pigs, 101% of the 2013 number.
The combined pig crop (June 1 through November 30 for US and July 1 through December 31 for Canada) was 72.513 million pigs which was 101% of the previous year with almost all of the increase occurring in the US herds.
All of this suggests that producers in both countries have been quick to respond to prices. It also suggests that there will be a lot more slaughter pigs available in coming months.