Despite pork prices that have been falling for a while, the fall pig crop was the highest on record and the number of pigs-per-litter was also at an all-time high, according to the Agriculture Department’s latest Hogs and Pigs Report.  

The biggest surprise in the report, according to USDA’s Gary Crawford: “Falling hog prices, yet producers in the fall quarter were farrowing 4 percent more sows than a year ago and intending to increase farrowings in 2017.”  

Four additional slaughtering plants are coming online late in 2017, which could help hog farmers, notes Shayle Shagam, USDA livestock analyst.  

“Producers may be thinking I’m expanding now, but there’s going to be some excess demand coming during the year , which will help soak up some of those large supplies.”