China’s pig herd rebounds after swine fever, but pork supply will take time to recover

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BEIJING, Oct 1 (Reuters) – China’s huge pig herd is rebounding rapidly after being decimated by disease but pork output will take much longer to restore given the low quality of the new herd, say experts and analysts.

China’s pork output fell to its lowest level in 16 years last year after African swine fever swept through farms nationwide from 2018 onwards.

With as many as 60% of its breeding sows gone by the second half of 2019, production of market pigs plunged and pork prices soared to new highs, where they have hovered for much of this year.

But after Beijing called last September for an urgent rebuilding of pork supplies and producers have poured billions of yuan into new farms, triggering a rapid rebound.

In July, the herd grew for the first time in more than two years, and in August it jumped by 31% over the same month last year, said the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

Some producers have even suggested that the rebuild may be overdone.

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