China's Breeding Sow Inventory on the Rise

( National Pork Board and the Pork Checkoff )

For the first time in 19 months, China’s inventory of breeding sows rose while the rate of decline for the world’s largest pork producer’s pig herd slowed for the first time in a year.

China’s inventory of breeding sows rose 0.6% in October for the first monthly increase since April 2018, official figures showed, signaling that pig production may soon start to recover after a devastating epidemic of African swine fever (ASF), Reuters reports.

The pig herd fell by 0.6% in October, easing from a 3% fall the previous month, Reuters reports. This is the smallest month-on-month contraction in a year. 
However, without an effective vaccine, Rabobank experts say it will be challenging for China to quickly replace the 55% of the herd it lost to ASF and for herd losses in other parts of Asia to recover. 

“Nevertheless efforts are underway to expand production, particularly with China’s largest operations, as they offer better biosecurity controls,” says Christine McCracken, Rabobank senior analyst – animal protein. “Successful repopulation of large commercial operations could stabilize market losses in 2020, but a full recovery could take several years. Rabobank expects a rebound in production beginning in 2021.”

As China prepares to enter its peak pork demand period, more supplies will likely be moved to high consumption regions. This could raise the risk of ASF spread nationwide.

On Friday, China launched a reward system, offering whistleblowers up to 10,000 yuan ($1,420) for reporting violations in the prevention and control of the disease, Reuters reports.

Earlier this month, China began shutting down some small slaughterhouses throughout the country in an effort to better prevent and control the devastating ASF virus sweeping through the region. 

ASF is a deadly disease of pigs only and does not pose a risk to human health. To follow the spread of ASF, visit porkbusiness.com/ASF.


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