Expert: "The real big drop in hog numbers will start in August"
China's loss of hogs still stands at 10% but the real disaster is in the sow herd, where the losses are estimated to be of 40-60%, according to Jim Long's conclusion after visiting China. The President-CEO of Genesus talked to representatives of the industry and anticipates a spike in prices after July.
"From what we can figure from talking to large hog operations, drug companies, veterinarians and other industry people the loss of sows is at 10% either way from 50%. That is 40-60% sow loss, with farms still breaking with African Swine Fever (ASF). Have to say that the degree of loss is greater than we expected.
It appears that the big loss of sows was in the January- Feb time period. From what we can discern other pigs in nursery-finishers have been to the most extent spared. The expectation is the real big drop in hog numbers will start in August, in line with the huge sow herd liquidation first of this year. Official China hog marketing’s in April were 43.66 million. A 10% decrease from a year ago. In context the decline is equal to about half all U.S. marketing’s in April", commented Mr Long.
Starting July, all stored pork will be checked for ASF. Next step will be China government veterinarians testing hogs at slaughter plants. Positive pork will be burnt. The emptying of pork inventories will coincide with the next level of hog market decline in August and also comes at a time of seasonal pork consumption increasing. "This triple whammy will be a trigger for a price jump", believes Jim Long.
Repopulating farms is a difficult task right now and also an expensive one, with pigs weaned at 28 days selling for 800-900 RMB ($120-135) each. "The Chinese Government is aggressively supporting the rebuilding and revitalization of the industry. China has lost many new nucleus farms due to ASF. At some point when the dust settles there will be significant importation of swine breeding stock to rejuvenate the swine genetic base", observed the company's CEO. Still, the move may come too soon as the ASF outbreak is far from being contained.
"Discussion about when farms can be successfully restocked after ASF is a major discussion if not confusion. In Russia it has been one year of empty barn before restocking allowed", added Mr Long.
As the largest exporter of swine breeding stock to China over the last 3 years, Genesus accounts for the last import of swine genetics from anywhere, in October.
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