The swine industry is steadily recovering from the FMD outbreaks in late 2010 and early 2011 where over 3.4 million hogs were culled, or one-third of the total inventories.
Swine growers are planning to expand current herd sizes 12 percent by this coming August. In order to make this happen, farmers are increasing sow inventories, which currently stand at about 93 percent from where they were prior to FMD. High carcass prices are also helping drive the recovery.
The pig production estimate in 2012 is accordingly reduced from 14.6 million to 13.9 million head. Although down from the earlier estimate, 2012 hog production is forecast to increase 5 percent year-on-year.
Over the longer-term, it is unlikely that the total hog inventories will reach pre-FMD levels of 9.8 million for the reasons listed below, many of which are policy related changes that were introduced to reduce the likelihood of future FMD and other infectious disease outbreaks. There is a short supply of sows in 2012 that will keep production in check. Swine farms can no longer be located within 500 meters of a residential area. Farmers are required to provide minimum barn space requirements; 1.4 square meters for a sow and 0.8 square meters for porkers. The prohibition on livestock manure disposal in the open sea became effective on January 1, 2012. As of November 2011, there were 360 swine farms that were dumping an estimated 60,000 MT of manure into the ocean each year. Large sized farms (e.g. 50 head of cattle or 1,000 head of swine) must cover 50 percent of the cost for FMD vaccination. The government will continue to subsidize the cost for smaller sized farms. Penalties have been imposed on farmers with animals that have less than 60 percent of the FMD antibody. A recent survey shows only half of the farms met this requirement. In October, 2012, Korea plans to introduce a pilot traceability program at a number of swine farms. The hogs will receive a group tracking number when they leave the farm. The government will furnish the farms participating in the trial program with the necessary technology. The traceability system will likely be expanded to all swine farms sometime in the future. At the end of 2012, all breeding farms, semen collection facilities and large livestock farms (9,000 farms) will be required to obtain a business permit. Also, small sized farms, regardless of size, will have to be registered and receive mandatory training.
The 2012 slaughter estimate has been trimmed down about 3 percent to 12.9 million to reflect the decrease in production. Though down from the earlier estimate, hog slaughter is forecast to increase 20 percent year-on-year. In 2011, the number of animals marketed dropped to 10.8 million because of FMD-related culling and livestock movement controls that remained in place until mid-year. Monthly slaughter in 2011 remained below 1.0 million head for most of the year compared to 2010 when monthly figures ranged from 1.1 to 1.4 million head.
Post has revised 2011 hog ending inventories to reflect the Korean government’s updated data series, which was based on FMD vaccination records required for all swine. Post was previously backing out 864,000 head from the government numbers since they had had unexpectedly and without explanation increased ending inventories by this amount back in 1998. Ending inventories in 2012 are forecast at 8.6 million head, up about 460,000 from the beginning of the year to account for the anticipated increase in production.
Tuesday March 6, 2012/ GAIN-USDA/ United States.