Swine fever opens different doors for US and Australia


Queensland Country Life (Australia) 

14 Sep 2020


The pig equivalent of COVID-19, African swine fever, is decimating herds around the world, but may present an opportunity for Australian red meat producers to fill the gaps in international protein supplies.


Australian Intercollegiate Meat Judging team member Hamish Fuller toured the US in January for a series of training events and competitions, and took the opportunity to investigate the US industry's response to the global ASF pandemic.


Mr Fuller found that the opportunities available to the Australian and US livestock industries were starkly different, with the American pork industry well positioned to ramp up production, while in Australia it is the beef and lamb sectors ready to provide protein alternatives to traditional pork consumers.


"There is an opportunity for Australia to capitalise on the increased demand for pork alternatives in China," Mr Fuller wrote in his post-tour report to industry.


"It is estimated that China will increase alternative protein substitute imports by 1.4 million metric tonnes. This creates a significant opportunity for the US and Australian red meat industries.


"In the first half of 2019 Australia's beef exports to China grew year-on-year by 68pc, according to data compiled by Meat & Livestock Australia, and this trend is expected to continue."


To date ASF has been reported in over 35 countries across three continents. It has close to 100pc mortality with no known cure or vaccine available to prevent infection...