ASF hinders Chinese pig herd recovery


Duncan Wyatt, Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (UK)

31 March 2021


In November, data from the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Areas indicated that the reproductive sow herd in China was growing, and recovering well from African Swine Fever. The population is thought to have reached its lowest point last winter.


More recently, data from the ministry indicates that the recovery, although still impressive, now appears to have temporarily stalled.


Reports indicate that ASF outbreaks have been identified frequently in southern China since the beginning of the year. The epidemic there had continued for about three months but now appears to be drawing to a close, with only scattered cases confirmed. Stocks in the south are thought to have been reduced by 10%, although the north appears to have been worse hit, with stock reductions of perhaps a quarter.


In January, the USDA revised its forecast for Chinese pork imports and production upwards, compared to its outlook in October. For now at least, Chinese import demand for pork in 2021 is still expected to be below the 2020 level. However, several weeks have passed since then, and more data has been published. The year on year fall in import demand may not be quite as much as expected, if domestic production is curtailed.


Any decline in the supply of pigs has not fed through to the price of pork. The supply and demand for pork itself appears to be more stable, with recent reductions in wholesale prices.


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