A new report from Rabobank says China’s hog herd could be cut in half by the end of the year. China, home to the largest hog herd in the world, has lost an estimated 40 percent of its hog herd already due to African swine fever. Official estimates have guessed the losses between 15 and 25 percent, but many fear the data coming from China is inaccurate. Reuters reported earlier this month that as many as half of China’s breeding pigs have either died from ASF or been slaughtered because of the spreading disease. Rabobank last year estimated China’s hog herd at 360 million head, but says as many as 200 million pigs could be culled.
Meanwhile, U.S. pork production is expected to rise throughout the third quarter of 2019, driven by a large breeding herd and improvement in productivity. The report notes that exports are struggling, but trade terms with Mexico and Canada should boost exports, and the resumption of trade negotiations with China is positive.