ASF Takes A Toll

Rabobank expects up to a 50% loss in China’s pig herd. ( MGN Online )

All eyes are on the protein market and what’s happening in China with African swine fever (ASF). New cases of the deadly virus are continuing to spread through China and eastern Europe.

A report by Rabobank indicates expected losses in the world’s largest pig herd might be up to 50% by the end of the year.

“Half of the world’s pigs are in China and half of those are now eliminated, we think,” Rabobank senior protein analyst Christine McCracken told Clinton Griffiths on “AgriTalk.” ”It will leave the world quite obviously short of protein.“

Despite the ASF outbreaks, McCracken says a lot of pork is going into freezers in China.

“All that pork needs to be consumed,” she says. ”The freezers are full but consumption of pork is down due to some concerns with the safety of that pork.“

Will China repopulate?

Because more than half of China’s breeding herd is gone and there is no cure or vaccine for ASF, it will be really hard to repopulate its pig herd, McCracken says.

Some farms have tried to introduce pigs back in those barns and ASF struck again, she explains. Without any control for ASF, there’s a lot of risk in rebuilding.

Listen to the full audio report for more of the discussion about ASF at