Pressures remain for pork sector in 2021

Rising feed costs add to ongoing challenges resulting from African swine fever and COVID-19.


Krissa Welshans, National Hog Farmer

Feb 12, 2021


Strong domestic and export demand for U.S. pork is driving markets and supporting continued strength in hog prices, according to the RaboResearch Q1 2021 Pork Quarterly, “Looking for growth amid uncertainties.”


China continues to dominate the global trade picture, but Rabobank said the country’s expected reduction in imports in 2021 will have ramifications for the rest of the world.


Still, the report noted that China has battled a variety of diseases this winter, especially in the northeast region, where more positive growth was seen last summer. The recurrence of ASF has slowed the restocking pace and caused prices to stay elevated in December and January, the firm relayed.


Even as ASF continues to spread in China, the impact is declining, as large-scale farms continue to expand.


“Compared with a year ago, the herd loss is considerably smaller and culling of whole farm herds is rare,” reported the RaboResearch team. “We expect China’s imports to decline by 10% to 30% in 2021. This will still make 2021 the second-largest year for imports, but this change in demand will impact all exporters.”


ASF outbreaks in Germany continue to be reported, as well. Rabobank noted that the majority of cases have been in Brandeburg, with 496 out of 513 cases reported in the region as of Jan. 15. Even as more cases are found, the report suggested the risk of the disease reaching commercial farms remains low due to biosecurity efforts.


Rabobank expects continuing downward pressure on German and EU pig prices...


COVID-19 hanging on ...


Feed costs further pressure producers ...