A report released last week by the US department of Agriculture (USDA) revealed some startling numbers: US hog farm numbers dropped by 70% from 1991-2009, but hog farm inventories remained steady.
According to ERS (Economic Research Service) the declining hog farm numbers suggest that the increased size of hog operations likely led to many small, high-cost operations ceasing to exist.
Specifically, the report said the average hog farm grew from 945 head of hogs sold or removed under
contract in 1992 to 8,389 head in 2009. Specialised finishing operations increased their share of production from 22 to 77% during 1992-2004, while the share of production from farrow-to-finish operations fell from 65 to 18%.
Higher corn and soybean prices during 2007-2009 raised feed costs considerably, the ERS report said.
Substantial productivity gains for hog farms since 1992 were attributable to increases in the scale of production and technological innovation. The increased size of operations accounted for almost half of the total increase in hog farm productivity since 1992.
Data used in this report come from USDA surveys of US hog producers conducted for 1992, 1998, 2004, and 2009. Summaries of each data year were used to describe hog farm differences by producer type according to size, business organisation, region, and production technology.
To read this full report click here.