Mixed global prospects for pork farmers in 2015

The latest quarterly Rabobank pork report suggests that global market prospects for pig farmers in 2015 will continue to be affected by the porcine epidemic diarrhoea virus (PEDv) and the Russian import ban, Bord Bia says.

However, demand in key Asian territories for the first half of 2015 should be boosted by tight supplies, Peter Duggan, Meat Division of Bord Bia says.

US

He said that in the US, pig farmers are likely to have to combat PEDv again this winter. While farmers have become increasingly successful in reducing this risk through vaccines, it is too early to estimate the significance for 2015. However, with the US breeding herd rising and carcase weights increasing, the USDA predicts that output will rise by 5% to 10.9 million tonnes in 2015.

EU

Closer to home, he says, the market outlook for the EU region will continue to be affected by the Russian import ban, according to Rabobank. The sow herd with farmers expanded by almost 1% in June 2014 compared to prior year levels, which is expected to boost finished pig supplies slightly.

Brazil

The main beneficiary from the Russian import ban is Brazil. With the Russian import ban expected to remain in place until July 2015, Brazilian exports to Russia are forecast to increase further. To illustrate Russian importers’ dependence on Brazil, in the month of September shipments from Brazil to Russia represented 75% of total imports.

Canada

The Canadian pork industry has largely dodged PEDv to date, however, the significant exposure that the US and Mexico have endured over the last 18 months, it may just be a matter of time before PEDv spreads into Canada.

China

In China, sow numbers are now at their lowest level since January 2009 at 45 million head. This reflects farmers exiting the industry due to losses being incurred, combined with hog productivity improving. On the back of this development, Chinese imports are expected to grow strongly towards the end of this year and into 2015.

According to the USDA, Chinese imports during 2015 are expected to increase by around 24% on 2014 levels to 1 million tonnes. The Chinese market continues to grow in importance for Ireland, with exports expected to exceed 30,000 tonnes this year, which would represent an increase of 20% on prior year levels.

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