According to the latest figures from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the September 2008 pig census recorded an annual increase of 2 percent in the total number of pigs to 68.7 million head. The number of finishing pigs rose to 62.6 million head, up 3 percent on the year. As expected the contraction in the breeding herd continued. The number of breeding pigs, at 6.05 million head, was down 3 percent on the year.

USDA reports that producers intend to farrow 3.01 million sows in the September to November 2008 period, a decline of 5 percent on actual farrowings during the same period in 2007. Intended farrowings for December 2008 to February 2009, at 2.98 million sows, are down 3 percent from 2008. Combined with the likelihood of fewer pigs being imported from Canada, this indicates a fall in production next year.