WASHINGTON – The latest figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show the U.S. hog herd didn’t shrink as much as analysts had forecast.

The U.S. inventory of all hogs and pigs on March 1, 2014, was 62.9 million head, down 3% from the year ago period and down 5% from Dec. 1, 2013, according to the U.S.D.A.’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. News reports put analysts’ expectations at 61.5 million head. The federal data suggest that the hog herd was not as hard-hit by Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) during the December-February period as originally feared.

 The December 2013-February 2014 pig crop declined 3% from 2013 at 27.3 million head. Sows farrowing during the period increased 3% to 2.87 million. The average pigs saved per litter was 9.53 for the December-February period, compared to 10.08 a year ago, N.A.S.S. reported. Pigs saved per litter by size of operation ranged from 7.70 for operations with 1-99 hogs and pigs to 9.60 for operations with more than 5,000 hogs and pigs.

 The N.A.S.S. reported the breeding inventory was 5.85 million head, up slightly from a year ago and up 2% from the previous quarter.

 The inventory of market-ready hogs totaled 57 million head, down 4% from last year and down 5% from last quarter.