China Imports First Live Pigs in a Year to Begin Restock of Herd

12:27PM Oct 09, 2019
China is a global competitor in many agricultural markets.
( Farm Journal Media )

C.P. Pokphand Co, China’s fifth largest swine producer, imported 906 breeding pigs from Denmark this week, said China’s customs on Wednesday. This is the first import of live pigs in a year, Reuters reports.

The breeding stock arrived on a charter flight in August. The pigs spent over a month in quarantine in Xiangyang city in central Hubei province, according to China’s General Administration of Customs.

This marks the first import of live breeding stock since African swine fever (ASF) began decimating China’s hog herd in August 2018. CP chief executive Bai Shanlin told Reuters last month it plans to raise 10 million pigs a year by 2021, up from 4 million currently.

Only a handful of countries are permitted to export live swine to China. At times, China has imported up to 10,000 pigs a year for genetic improvement of its herd. The customs database shows imports of breeding pigs from Denmark in August were valued at $2.94 million.

Because farmers have been struggling to contain this deadly, contagious disease, quarantining imported pigs has been more complicated. 

Rabobank analysts predict China’s herd loss to reach 55% by the end of 2019. Many producers are focused on expansion, both building new farms and restocking previously infected ones, to help fill the country's need for pork. 

But, restocking is a risk China needs to take, said Gordon Spronk, DVM, with Pipestone Veterinary Services.

"As China rebuilds its national sow herd, it will need gilts from everywhere that it can possibly source from," Spronk said. 

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