ASF China: What is happening?

Source: Daniel Azevedo, Pig Progress 24 May 2021, photo credit: Fox Business

The USDA provided perspectives expressed by the Chinese government and industry participants attending or speaking at the 2021 China Feed Industry Expo and Conference.

Among exhibitors at the show, there were reports that African swine fever (ASF) has become more serious, especially in northern China. Contacts noted declines in the sow herds in Henan and Shandong provinces, with declines of 40 percent and 50 percent, respectively. Recent decreases in pork prices were attributed to producers selling their animals to reduce their risk of losses to ASF. Some farms reportedly sold their pigs underweight. Southwest China seems to be less affected by ASF according to trade contacts met during the expo.

The latest rounds of ASF outbreaks are expected to heavily impact small and family-sized swine farms. Sources suggested that they will find it difficult to survive under the pressure of falling pork prices, high feed prices, and pig losses. Although large companies will suffer from the outbreak, they have larger capital reserves to continue to invest so that they can expand their market share over smaller farmers.

The speaker from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China (MARA) stated that its swine sector data is reliable, as it is gathered directly from the country’s 178,000 large-scale swine farms (defined as farms with a monthly slaughter capacity of 500 head or more). MARA claimed that damage from the ASF resurgence has not been severe, but rather some regions suffered from piglet diarrhea in early 2021. According to MARA, this resulted in a month-on-month decline of 9.9 percent in the new-born piglet survival rate in January and an additional 1.3 percent in February. According to the MARA speaker, the survival rate increased month-on-month by 4.4 percent in March compared to February 2021.

According to MARA data, the national sow inventory had recovered to 95 percent of the pre-ASF level by the end of February 2021 and the hog inventory remains above 400 million head. Furthermore, large-scale slaughterhouses processed 14.2 million pigs in February, up by 71 percent year-on-year. MARA indicated that the number of new-born piglets was more than 30 million head in March 2021, compared to 16 million head in March 2020. Finally, MARA claimed that the hog herd is expected to recover to a pre-ASF level by June or July, and that the monthly hog slaughter number is expected to recover to a normal level by November.

May 14, 2021/ USDA/ United States.

The South African Pork Producers’ Organisation (SAPPO) coordinates industry interventions and collaboratively manages risks in the value chain to enable the sustainability and profitability of pork producers in South Africa.