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·         China’s Headlong Rush into Hog Farms Is Fanning Boom-Bust Fears

·         China Is Building a City of Pig Apartments to Protect Their Herds from Swine Flu

·         China making surprisingly rapid pork recovery after ASF, webinar told




China’s Headlong Rush into Hog Farms Is Fanning Boom-Bust Fears


o   Highest pork price ever has lured cement maker and state funds

o   One company is constructing 17-storey buildings to breed hogs


Bloomberg News

October 15, 2020 


Investing in Chinese hog farms may never have been so profitable, and that’s spurred fears that the boom may soon turn into a bust.


Record pork prices mean that breeders are potentially enjoying their highest returns ever, and that’s attracted many different kinds of investors to the industry, from a cement maker to state funds and banks, in addition to the ongoing expansion by traditional hog-farming companies.


These breeders such as Wens Foodstuffs Group, Muyuan Foodstuff Co. and New Hope Liuhe Co. are engaged in ambitious plans to build large-scale farms to regenerate the industry after it was ravaged by African swine fever. The idea is that the big farms will gradually replace the many smallholders and install best-in-class sanitation and safety measures to counter any future threat.


In thousands of years of Chinese history, pig farmers have possibly never made so much money, Song Weiping, vice president of Beijing Dabeinong Technology, told a swine conference in Chongqing this week. The profits have encouraged investors to embark on an aggressive expansion drive, which may eventually produce another super boom-and-bust cycle, Song said.


Profit Boom


Thanks to surging pork prices, for the first nine months of the year, Wens Foodstuffs estimates that net income grew by as much as 38% on year, while Muyuan Foodstuff sees profit potentially expanding by more than 1,400%. New Hope Liuhe estimates income growth of as much as 63%, while a smaller player, Jiangxi Zhengbang Technology, expects net income to jump over 100 times.


Muyuan, which has the most ambitious program, has said it plans to issue as much as 10 billion yuan of bonds to fund more than 20 new hog farms and slaughtering facilities after it joined state-backed poverty-relief and trust funds in a deal to build hog farms.


High-Storey Farms ...


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China Is Building a City of Pig Apartments to Protect Their Herds from Swine Flu

The high-rise pig "hotels" are expected to produce as many as 840,000 piglets a year.


by Gavin Butler, VICE

October 16, 2020


Atop the heavily forested slopes of Mount Yaji, some 40 miles northeast of Beijing, a private agricultural company is building a veritable pig city: a cluster of high-rise apartment buildings—or, more accurately, factory farms—designed to accommodate the world’s largest herd of hogs.


It’s hoped that Guangxi Yangxiang’s half dozen tower blocks could future-proof China’s precious pig population against the risk of diseases like African swine fever, which has wiped out 200 million of the animals—or half the world’s population—since 2018. The “hotels” are designed to be sealed off in order to prevent contamination and, when complete, could collectively produce 840,000 piglets a year.


One of the structures is set to have as many as 13 vertically-stacked floors worth of pigs, making it the world's tallest building of its kind.


“There are big advantages to a high-rise building,” Xu Jiajing, a manager of the farm, told Reuters. “It saves energy and resources. The land area is not that much but you can raise a lot of pigs.”


The tower complex, erected in an 11-acre clearing at Mount Yaji’s summit, is projected to house 30,000 sows by the end of the year. For context, a large breeding farm in northern China would more typically house 8,000 sows on a 13-acre site. Nor has Yangxiang spared any expense, spending a total of about 500 million yuan (just under $75 million USD) on the facilities—averaging out at about 16,000 ($2,380 USD) yuan per pig—not including the cost of the animals themselves.


Having so many pigs living cheek to jowl under the same roofs has raised some health concerns, as such a densely populated farming environment heightens the risk of a rampant disease outbreak. But Robert Herrmann, managing director of market analysts Mecardo, suggested that the complex’s biosecurity controls are unparalleled.


"We've seen evidence of multi-storey piggeries that look like apartment blocks," Herrmann told the ABC. "They're completely contained so the biosecurity standards are at a level almost unseen in any other areas of the world and those sort of efforts are going to allow them to increase their pig herd very quickly.


"It's also going to mean that that pig herd is far more secure and safer than what it was pre-African swine fever."


Yangxiang isn’t the only Chinese company entering the high-rise hog farm industry. Reuters reports that pig breeding company Shenzhen Jinxinnong Technology Co Ltd also plans to invest 150 million yuan towards two five-story sow farms...


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China making surprisingly rapid pork recovery after ASF, webinar told


Jon Condon, BEEF Central (Australia)

October 14, 2020


CHINA is making a surprisingly rapid recovery in pork production after the devastating effects of African Swine Fever last year, an international meat trade webinar was told this morning.


The annual Meat Import Council of America conference held every October normally attracts a large gathering of international exporters, importers and traders, including a contingent from Australia, but was held online this year due to COVID.


US-based industry analyst Len Steiner delivers a presentation to the conference each year outlining world meat supply and demand trends and a forecast on cattle and meat prices for the year ahead.


Among a broad range of topics he covered this year, he suggested Australian lean grinding beef exports to the US next year are likely to retain a price premium over both domestic US trim, and competing imported product from South America (more details below).


As part of an examination of the China market in global meat supply and demand, Mr Steiner said a year ago (after the onset of African Swine Fever) China was outbidding other import competitors for available beef supplies.


“But they don’t seem to be buying as much at this point in time, from Australia or New Zealand – despite leading the world in the recovery from COVID and the recession it caused,” he said.


“Part of that may be political – Australia has been vocal about some of the developments in Hong Kong, for example – and the Chinese have let Australia know that they do not appreciate those comments.”


New Zealand had also shifted a little. For a long time the US had been NZ’s biggest and most consistent customer. Last year that was not the case, as China exports grew, but this year, the US would again be NZ’s largest market, he said.


Rapid Swine Fever recovery


While China’s pig herd was decimated a year ago by African Swine Fever, recovery had been surprisingly swift, and this would potentially impact world meat trade in coming years.


Prior to 2018, China had somewhere around 55 percent of all the hogs on earth, Mr Steiner said.


While precise estimates were difficult to source, statistics suggested China had about 418 million pigs in July 2018, before falling by 37 percent to 264 million by September last year due to the direct and indirect impacts of Swine Fever.


By January this year, the Chinese pork herd had increased to around 283 million head, and Steiner Consulting’s current estimate is that the national herd has now recovered dramatically, to around 375 million head. That suggests Chinese pig numbers are now back to within 10pc of pre-ASF levels.


“They have made a lot of progress lately,” Mr Steiner told this morning’s webinar.


One of the reasons for this was the collapse in Chinese ‘smallfarmer’ pork production, replaced rapidly by large commercial-scale pork production enterprises which could practise bio-security to keep the disease at bay.


“The typical sow shed in the US is a low, flat building. In China, they are now building three-storey sow sheds. They look like a Holiday Inn,” he said.


“It’s a different approach to pork production than what has traditionally been seen in China. They are making rapid progress in recovery. The Chinese are obviously learning how to live with, and effectively manage for the disease.”


At the same time, another reason for the rapid headway in pork production was that pork prices in China had been so high. Retail pork prices are currently around 112pc of what they were a year ago; hog prices 136pc; and baby pigs 174pc higher – almost three times the price of a year ago, Mr Steiner said.


Despite recovery in the pig herd, beef imports to China continued to grow, with roughly 75pc of Argentina’s beef exports now destined for China; about 55pc of Uruguay’s; and 60pc of Brazil’s exports (when Hong Kong is included). A year ago, more than 50pc of NZ’s beef exports went to China, now back to 45pc, while Australian exports represented about 20pc of all exports.


COVID impact ...


Food service clobbered ...


Currency shifts aid some exporters, hinder others ...


US corn crop ...


US meat production ...


US demand for meat ...


Price forecasts ...


Premium for Australian imported ...


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