China’s Largest Pig and Poultry Producer in the Red, Plans to Expand

( National Pork Board and the Pork Checkoff )

Wens Foodstuff Group, China’s largest pig and poultry producer, said on Wednesday it recorded a loss of $68.6 million for the first three months of 2019. Weak hog prices destroyed earnings on top of greater investments to protect its herds from disease.

The firm, which produced 22 million pigs in 2018, reported a profit of $208.3 million in the same quarter a year earlier, according to Reuters.

However, Shandong Yisheng Livestock & Poultry Breeding, Asia’s largest breeder of white-feathered broiler chickens, said on Wednesday that its first-quarter profit rose to 36 times the year-earlier figure at $56.8 million as prices for breeding birds surged.

This dramatic shift in China’s farm sector has been triggered by the devastating African swine fever (ASF) outbreak, a disease that is fatal to pigs, but does not harm people. Poultry demand in China continues to rise in response to concerns about the impact of ASF on the pork supply. 

Wens sold 5.96 million pigs in the first quarter, almost 20% more than a year earlier, but low prices in the first two months of the year pushed its hog business into a loss, Reuters said, even with rising prices in March.

Tech-bank Food Co Ltd, a fast-growing pig farmer in China, reported a first-quarter loss of $49.9 million on Tuesday and losses of $85.1 million for 2018.

In addition to pigs, Wens raises yellow-feathered chickens. They said sales volumes of its broilers jumped 20% in the quarter to 184 million birds, but prices were down 14.78% from a year ago amid growing supplies in the market.

Nonetheless, Wens is still planning to produce more pigs and chickens, and boost its broiler output by at least 10% this year.

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