As all eyes focus on African swine fever’s deliberate spread throughout Asia, what does this mean for U.S. pork producers?
“We're obviously keeping a close eye on African swine fever in China and how it’s spreading throughout Asia and most recently detected in South Korea, also in Russia,” said Warren Preston, Deputy Chief Economist at USDA, at the Ag Outlook Forum on Sept. 23 in Kansas City, Mo. “It’s something we don’t really want to see expanding. It’s a devastating disease. The loss rates are extremely high. You need to destroy the herd to try to stamp out the disease as quickly as possible.”
Preston says ASF will impact the demand for feedstuffs in China. On the other hand, he says this gives U.S. pork producers opportunities for pork exports, even with the current tariff situation.
“It’s the most popular protein in China, so there will be a continued demand to backfill that loss of supply,” he says. “But we do face those headwinds in terms of the tariffs that we're facing—and the fact that China doesn't really have a well-established cold chain to be able to handle that increase in cuts coming from the United States.”
China is designed to take live animals and turn them into carcasses, Preston says.
“We're not really set up in the United States to ship carcasses. We're set up to ship boxed cuts. So, there's a little bit of mismatch there,” he adds. “But we're looking at hopefully passage of a new USMCA and also looking for opportunities in China and Japan. So there are potential positive outcomes on trade.”
Read more about the spread of ASF at porkbusiness.com/ASF.
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