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It is now well recognised across the globe that China, the biggest pigmeat
market in the world, has su ered a catastrophic collapse in its pig
industry due to African Swine Fever (ASF). The first outbreak was o cially
announced in August 2018 and since then an estimated 40 per cent of
their national sow herd has been culled which equates to nearly a quarter
of total global pig production.
Pig Population
Assuming the estimated percentage of sow culling is correct, 15 million
sows have been culled in a 14-month period. The scale of this decline is
simply astonishing when we consider that the total European sow herd is
12 million. This devastation of the sow herd will result in an estimated 180
million fewer Chinese pigs being produced and entering the marketplace.
The estimated 40 per cent drop in pig numbers was further confirmed last
month by the annual reports of the three biggest Chinese pig companies
(Wens, Muyuan, & Zhengbankg) who reported a combined drop in sales
revenue of 39 per cent.This shortfall of available Chinese pigmeat will
be partly met by a switch in meat consumption but mostly by increased
pigmeat imports from the E.U. and the U.S.
Consumption
Pigmeat is traditionally the most widely consumed meat in China
comprising 65 per cent of the total meat consumption. Pigmeat is
associated with times of celebration and feast days such as the Chinese
New Year and because of this high status in Chinese life it usually has a
low elasticity of demand i.e. demand is not sensitive to price increases.
However, a speaker at the Dalan Corn Conference last month estimated
that pigmeat demand has unusually fallen by 11 per cent due to the
sharp increase in market price and the irrational fear surrounding African
Swine Fever despite the fact that it is completely harmless for human
consumption. The switch from pigmeat has largely been to the benefit of
poultry consumption.
Chinese Pig Price
The Chinese pig price is obviously based on supply and demand. However,
although extensive sow culling began in August 2018 the Chinese pig
price did not start to increase until July 2019. Why the long time-lag?
Catastrophic impact
of Swine Fever on
Chinese pig herd
The impact of African Swine Fever on the Chinese pig herd is
quite staggering as an extract from a paper presented at last
month's Teagasc Pig Conference confirms. The paper was
compiled by Michael McKeon and Emer McCrum, Teagasc
Moorepark & Ballyhaise.
31
NOVEMBER 2019
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Pig Focus
NOVEMBER 2019
Pig Focus
www.irishfarmersmonthly.com