Professor Dermot Hayes, Iowa State University, presented a vision on the future of pork production during the satellite symposium of Bayer Animal Health at this year's IPVS Congress, in Vancouver, Canada.
Pig Progress Editor Vincent ter Beek reports from IPVS, Vancouver
His thesis comes down to the fact that it is easiest and cheapest to have the pork produced where the corn is grown – since it is much more cost effective to transport (chilled) carcasses instead of bushels of corn.
His projections are particularly interesting when considering the future of China, the world's largest consumer of pork and a production market nowadays four times as big as the US market. At the moment, it is his estimate thatstill 50% of the current-day pig production is produced in backyards.
China, like many other countries in Asia, is still developing rapidly. He said: “The country has better things to do than raise pigs on household waste.”
Oddly, he said, China has seen a reduction in sow productivity over the last years. And production will become more difficult, he predicted. “China has a bigger amount of densely populated areas than Japan. And the pigs are where the people are,” he said, indicating that the vast majority of the country is unsuitable for pig production – think of the Gobi desert and the Himalaya.
“They can't keep increasing pork production in this area.”
What needs to happen to continue to feed China's hungry mouths in the future is unclear, but the suggestion was clear – here are exporting opportunities for other countries, like e.g. Brazil or the USA. Already, Hayes noted, extensive products like soybeans and beef are being imported from foreign countries.
Hayes also presented current and future import and export figures for many countries important for pig trade, like Japan, Mexico, Brazil, USA, Canada, and EU-27.