The increase was made up of market hogs, which numbered 8.9 million head on December 1. Breeding stock remained steady at one million head.
The pig crop for the September to November period was up three percent over the same period during in 2003. The pigs were produced by 540,000 sows. The number of pigs saved per litter was also up slightly to 9.1.
Producers in the state have indicated that they intend to farrow 540,000 sows during the December to February period and 550,000 during March to May. If the intentions materialize, farrowings will be up two percent from the previous year.
Nationally, the inventory of hogs and pigs was up one percent to 60 million head. However, breeding inventory as of December 1 was down about one percent below the same time last year.
North Carolina ranks second only to Iowa in the number of hogs produced annually. Iowa has a total inventory of approximately 15.8 million head. Minnesota ranks third with an inventory of approximately 6.4 million head.