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Economist predicts hog markets to do well in 2018

The U.S. swine inventory on December 1, 2017 was 73.2 million head. This a record high for this quarter. The U.S. Department of Agriculture released the quarterly hogs and pig report Friday.

Purdue University economist Dr. Chris Hurt does not expect the report to have a major impact on profitability.

“I’ve got profitability for 2017 around $5 per head and that would improve to around $5 to $8 a head in 2018. Right now, I have it on the positive side given inventory from this report and what demand we see for next year, Hurt says.

The breeding herd inventory at 6.1 million head, was up one percent. The supply of market hogs, at just over 67 million head, was up two percent.

The U.S. swine industry has added packing capacity in recent years. Jim Robb, who is with the Livestock Marketing Information Center, says that situation supports additional growth.

“I think we can grow in the range of two and half percent if we maintain a strong U.S. economy and if we continue to do as well in the export market,” Robb says.

Exports have remained strong this past year. Independent market analyst Bob Brown, based in Edmond, Oklahoma, says exports will continue to influence the hog trade.