According to FAS-USDA, the number of breeding sows in the Australian pig herd is expected to remain stable in 2014 at 240,000 head. Pig production is expected to increase marginally from 4.6 million in 2013 to 4.7 million piglets in 2014.
According to industry sources the Australian swine industry has reached a point of balance between supply and demand. Industry rationalization over the last five to ten years has forced most of the less efficient operators out of the industry. Most of those that remain have consistent long term contracts with major retailers or exporters so have balanced their sow numbers to meet these demands.
The Australian industry has committed to a voluntary phase-out of gestation crates by 2017. Research suggests that producers can expect a slight reduction in sow productivity immediately following the removal of gestation crates.
Total pig slaughter for 2014 is expected to be marginally higher than 2013 at 4.7 million head for total production of 350,000 tons, up 1.5 percent from 2013.
Total exports of pork products from Australia are expected to increase marginally in 2014 to 35,000 tons. Exports in the first half of 2013 were just over 13,000 tons with total exports for the year expected to reach 33,000 tons.
Key export destinations for Australian pork remain Singapore (34%), New Zealand (17%) Papau New Guinea (13%) and the Philippines (12%). Pork imports in 2014 are also expected to increase slightly (2%) to 210,000 tons. Imports for the first half of 2013 were 77,853 tons with the total for 2013 expected to reach over 155,000 tons. The U.S. remains the largest importer of pork products to Australia, importing over 30,000 tons in the first half of 2013, followed by Denmark with 24, 000 tons. This trend is expected to continue in 2014 however there is little chance that the Australian market will be opened to fresh, chilled or bone-in pork product in the near future.
Friday September 6, 2013/ FAS-USDA/ United States.