The first and second rounds of vaccinations of all swine and cattle were finished on January 31 and February 26. The 2011 sow beginning stock number was lowered to 920,000 head to reflect the estimated number of sows culled in December 2010. With the culling of 2.8 million swine since the beginning of the year, though, the current number of sows has dropped significantly since January 1 and is now estimated at 650,000 head, which includes several thousand head of imported breeding stock to rebuild the herd.
In light of lower sow numbers combined with the 2-3 month waiting period before restocking FMD-affected farms, the 2011 production estimate (pig crop) is lowered by 28 percent to 11.1 million head. Production in 2010 has also been revised downward to 14.9 million head to reflect the estimated number of piglets that were culled in December.
In addition to a smaller pig crop, high feed grain prices coupled with rising cost of manure disposal is expected to be a barrier to the rebuilding of swine inventories. Higher waste disposal costs are linked to Korea’s decision to ban the dumping of swine manure into the ocean beginning in 2012. Year end inventories for 2011 are accordingly lowered 20 percent from the earlier estimate to 19.6 million head.