China's pig herd grows due to succesful disease fighting
China's pig herd is estimated not to drop at all as a result of a successful battle against diseases. Piglet production is said to hit record levels.
While data on the animal diseases are tightly supressed in China, sources have told the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Beijing that outbreaks were ‘about 60%’ lower in the October-to-December quarter than a year before, the website Agrimoney.com reported recently.
The decline seen comes down in part to a mild winter, which is the peak period for swine diarrhoea. However, innoculations are also seen as having supressed the spread of PRRS and Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD), of which epidemics in the past have forced large-scale animal slaughter.
It is thought that China's improved veterinary service and new FMD vaccination have helped the death rate remain at a relatively low level compared to previous years.
The USDA staff said that, with pig production also being encouraged by subsidies, China's sow stocks may be 2.0 million head higher than the official USDA figure of 47.3 million figure, lifting forecast piglet production this year to hit a record 680.0 million.
USDA staff were quoted to say: "China's policies for breeding animals and productive sows are encouraging farmers to increase their inventories, in order to help prevent another year of tight supplies and record high prices."
The bureau stuck by an estimate that pork imports will, nonetheless, reach 560,000 tonnes this year. China consumes, at more than 50 million tonnes, half the world's pork every year.
• United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
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