China Adjusts 2019 Growth Targets


 Like the scorpion and the tarantula in the bottle, the economies of China and the U.S. have a common destiny. Decisions by the respective governments influence mutual prosperity. The current reality is that in China, decreased exports and declining domestic demand are reflected in a new 2019 GDP growth target of 6.0 to 6.5 percent, lower than the 6.6 percent apparently attained in 2018. Addressing the meeting of 3,000 delegates to the national gathering of Yespeople , Premier Li Keqiang stated “The environment facing China’s development this year is more complicated and more severe.” He added “There will be more risks and challenges that are either predictable or unpredictable and we must be fully prepared for a tough battle.”

According to a review by Yawen Chen and Ryan Woo posted on Reuters on March 5th the proposed changes to stimulate the economy include:

  • Planned cuts of close to $300 billion in taxes and fees.
  • Reducing the value-added tax for the manufacturing sector from 16 percent to 13 percent and for the transport and construction sectors from 10 percent to 9 percent.
  • Making available $321 billion in special bond issues for local governments. It is noted that these entities are heavily involved in operating manufacturing plants and obviously this move represents an increase in state subsidies for export-focused industries.
  • The Central Bank will continue to reduce reserve requirements for commercial lenders. This may represent a hidden danger since defaults by lenders and the unorthodox balance sheets of lending institutions will only show further deterioration.
  • Li indicated that red-tape (appropriate for a Communist nation!) will be relaxed so companies can “spend more time doing business and less time chasing approvals”. In this regard, he has taken a page out of the playbook of the current Administration.
  • Li indicated that China will improve market access for foreign companies. These businesses will be “treated as equals and engage in fair competition”.

It is evident that economic factors, many of which are cyclic, are depressing economic growth in China. China intends to create 11 million urban jobs in 2019 and maintain unemployment at 4.5 percent. The degree to which the trade war with the U.S. has affected the economy remains to be calculated, but most certainly the government, which exercises strong central control must be aware of the implication of high tariffs on exports to the U.S.

Although there is rising optimism over the negotiations to resolve trade and structural issues, the U.S. and China will both have to make concessions. The question is which nation will bend the most. Although China desperately requires exports to achieve GDP growth, low unemployment and long-term expansion of the economy must be sustained for the nation to become the world’s largest economy. The U.S. is proportionately vulnerable in that it requires a market for agricultural commodities and industrial products. At the end of the day, China holds a significant proportion of our national debt that supports our growing deficit. Treasury rates, which are a major factor regulating our economy, might not be so low or stable if China holds back at treasury auctions.



Poultry Industry News

Updated USDA-ERS Poultry Meat Projection for 2018 and 2019.


The USDA-Economic Research Service released production and consumption data for broilers and turkeys for 2017 (actual), 2018 (actual) and 2019 (forecast) respectively on March 14th 2019.

Broiler data for 2019 was essentially unchanged from the December 2018 report, the last issued before the Federal shutdown. Production in 2019 will increase by 1.3 percent compared to 2018 to 19.591 million metric tons (43,100 million lbs.) RTC. Per capita consumption was increased from the December report by 0.2 percent for 2019 corresponding to 42.0 kg. (92.4 lbs.) Exports will represent 16.6 percent of RTC production attaining 3.248 million metric tons (7,145 million lbs.) and is based on the presumption that the recently concluded USMCA will be approved by Congress and by the legislatures of Canada and Mexico.

Turkey production will decrease by 0.6 percent in 2019 to 2.661 million metric tons (5,854 million lbs.) RTC, following a revision of 2018 production now projected to be 2.671 million metric tons. (5,890 million lbs.). Per capita consumption will attain 7.2 kg. (15.9 lb.) during 2019, a 1.4 percent downward projection despite promotions and introduction of further processed items. Export volume will be 0.7 percent higher at 0.277 million metric tons (610 million lbs. ).

Forecast values for production and consumption of RTC turkey in 2019 are considered to be optimistic given 2018 prices, egg settings, poult placements and disposal of hen poults in 2019 to date, weekly production levels and inventory. The USDA projection presumably takes into account that the recently concluded USMCA, if ratified by the legislatures of all three nations, will avert tariffs. This will maintain market share in Mexico despite growing competition from Chile and other nations in Latin America.

Metric values for the broiler and turkey segments of the U.S. poultry meat industry are tabulated below:-




2017 (actual)

2018 (actual)

2019 % Difference (forecast) 2018 to 2019



Production (m. metric tons)



19.590 +1.3

Consumption (kg per capita)



42.0 +0.2

Exports (m. metric tons)



3.248 +1.3

Proportion of production (%)



16.6 -0.6




Production (m. metric tons)



2.661 -0.6

Consumption (kg per capita)



7.2 -1.4

Exports (m. metric tons)



0.277 +0.7

Proportion of production (%)



10.3 nil

Subscribers are referred to the weekly updates of production and inventories of broilers and turkeys posted weekly on CHICK-NEWS

Source: Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook -March 14 th 2019




The following quotations for the months as indicated were posted by the CME at 13H00 on Friday March 15th together with values for the reference months in parentheses. The market showed a rise in the futures prices of corn, soybeans and soybean meal for May delivery compared to the previous week.



Corn (cents per bushel)

May 371 (363)

July 381

Soybeans (cents per bushel)

May 907 (910)

July 920

Soybean meal ($ per ton)

May 310 (307)

July 314

Changes in the price of corn, soybeans and soybean meal this past week were:-


Corn: May quotation up 8 cents per Bu          (+2.2percent)

Soybeans: May quotation up 3 cents per Bu   (+0.3 percent)

Soybean Meal: May quotation up $3 per ton   (+0.1 percent)

  • For each 10 cent per bushel change in corn:-

The cost of egg production would change by 0.45 cent per dozen

The cost of broiler production would change by 0.25 cent per pound live weight

  • For each $10 per ton change in the price of soybean meal:-

The cost of egg production would change by 0.40 cent per dozen

The cost of broiler production would change by 0.25 cent per pound live weight


The market has now factored in decreased production in Brazil and Argentine.

There is increasing optimism concerning the outcome of the ongoing negotiations between China and the U.S. The extension of the March 31 st deadline to raise tariffs from ten percent to twenty-five percent on over $200 billion in annual imports from China is now a reality. In return China has agreed to purchase an unspecified quantity of agricultural commodities in addition to energy and heavy equipment from the U.S. to offset the negative balance of payments. The USDA announced on January 7th that orders have been placed for a total of 4.5 million tons to be shipped before September 2019. China has hinted at a six-year agreement to purchase soybeans mainly due to concern over continuity of supplies due to drought in Brazil. Negotiations are apparently in progress as denoted by shuttles between Beijing and Washington but without any disclosure of specifics. Markets are now cautiously responding to conflicting reports from the Administration but prices will be influenced subsequently by area planted and crop progress.

According to the March 8th 2018 WASDE Report #585, (the first issued after the December 24th 2018 Federal Shutdown), 81.7 million acres of corn will be harvested in 2019 to produce 14.42 Billion bushels. The soybean crop is projected to attain 4.54 Billion bushels from 88.1 million acres harvested. The levels of production for the two commodities are based on preliminary pre-planting projections of yield and acreage to be planted. Ending stocks were revised based on anticipated domestic use and exports.

See the WASDE posting summarizing the March 8th USDA-WASDE Report #586 under the STATISTICS tab documenting price projections and quantities of commodities to be produced, used and exported from the 2019 harvest.

Unless shipments of corn and soybeans to China resume in volume, as projected, the financial future for row-crop farmers appears bleak despite the release of two tranches amounting to $8 billion as “short-term” compensation for producers of commodities. Eligible soybean farmers received $1.61 per bushel. Corn farmers will not be placated by the promise of a year-round E-15 blend since the logistic problems of delivery to consumers and legal challenges will delay any positive price benefit. Oversupply of ethanol with the current 10 percent addition (read BTU dilution) mandate is evident from the March 15th spot price of $1.38 per gallon that has not changed materially in six weeks compared with a peak in late March 2018 at $1.60. Exports have been constrained by the retaliatory tariffs imposed by China on U.S. ethanol. Some refiners are reducing production and mothballing corn-fermentation plants. Corn farmers can be relieved that optimistic and unfounded projections of cellulosic ethanol after 2017 have not materialized based on technical complications and financial infeasibility.

The loss inflicted on farmers by the trade war with China is a gain for livestock producers who will benefit from lower feed costs. It must be recognized that the hog and poultry industries have experienced higher costs for more than a decade as a result of the RFS, a gift that keeps on giving. The mandate is a boon to Midwest politicians, corn growers and ethanol refiners at the expense of anyone in the U.S. who eats or uses any form of transport.


Weekly Turkey Production and Prices


Poult Production and Placement:

The March 14th edition of the USDA Turkey Hatchery Report, issued monthly, documented 27.8 million eggs in incubators on March 1st 2018 (28.1 million eggs on February 1st 2019) down 2.3 percent (0.7 million eggs) from March 1st 2018.

A total of 22.8 million poults were hatched during February 2019 (23.3 million in January 2019) and down 1.0 percent from February 2018.

A total of 20.8 million poults were placed on farms in the U.S. in February 2019, (20.8 million in January 2019), 2.6 percent less than in February 2018. This suggests disposal of 1.0 million poults during the month. Assuming all tom poults were placed, 8.8 percent of hen poults or 4.4 percent of all February 2019 hatched poults were not placed.

For the twelve-month period March 2018 through February 2019 inclusive, 284.8 million poults were hatched and 263.4 million were placed. This suggests disposal of 11.0 million poults. Assuming all tom poults were placed 7.7 percent of hen poults or 3.8 percent of all poults hatched during the period were not placed.


Weekly Broiler Production and Prices


Chick Placements.

The Broiler Hatchery Report released on March 13th confirmed that a total of 233.2 million eggs were set during the week ending March 9th, two percent more than in the corresponding week in 2018. A total of 178.2 million day-old chicks were placed among the 19 major broiler-producing states during the week ending March 9 th. This was one percent higher than the corresponding week in 2018. Total chick placements for the U.S. amounted to 185.9 million. Claimed average hatchability was 82.2 percent for eggs set three weeks earlier. Broiler chick placements for 2019 through March 9th amounted to 1.84 billion, one percent more than YTD 2018.

Broiler Production

According to the USDA Broiler Market News Report (Vol. 66: No.111) for the processing week ending March 9th 2019, 160.3 million broilers were processed at an average live weight of 6.16 lbs. (6.13 lbs. last week) and a nominal yield of 76.0 percent. The number of broilers processed was 0.1 percent less than the corresponding processing week in 2018. Processed (RTC) broiler production for the week was 750.3 million lbs. (341,051 metric tons). Production YTD of RTC in 2019 is 7.45 million lbs. (3,885,403 metric tons), 0.3 percent more than in 2018.


Drinker Flow Rate and Drip Cups


An oft-repeated adage “dry floors lighter bird - wet floors heavier bird” is based on the reality that almost two thirds of live weight is represented by water. Dehydrated birds are obviously low in weight compared to flocks which have received adequate feed and water and have been raised free of intestinal disease.

Unfortunately there is a downside to wet or even damp litter. Problems include hock burn, pododermatitis, gangrenous dermatitis, coccidiosis and clostridial enterotoxemias including necrotic enteritis. Health of flocks and their performance can be influenced by water consumption. This term implies actual ingestion (prehension and swallowing) of water. Managers frequently conflate actual water consumption with water usage as measured by a water meter. The difference between usage and consumption is wastage either by leaks in the system or from drinkers or simply spilled from the beak as birds drink.

A number of universities have initiated research projects to determine the optimal water pressure and hence drinker discharge flow rate for nipples appropriate to broilers of specific ages. This is a unrewarding exercise since standards must be developed for each model of drinker manufactured both now and in the past. Flow rate whether static or dynamic is directly influence by water column pressure and regulator adjustment. Given the complexity of establishing an optimal pressure setting for the drinker model in the watering system, managers must be guided by moisture content of litter that in turn is influenced by ventilation rate and ambient temperature and humidity.

In an attempt to maximize water consumption, systems are frequently operated at a pressure in excess of the needs of the flock resulting in spillage from the beak as birds activate the drinker’s trigger pin.  To obviate this problem drip cups are placed below nipples. This is especially the practice for systems designed in the EU where relatively non-absorbent straw is used as a substrate compared to wood shavings in the U.S.  

Drip cups create their own problem. Water that spills into the drip cup when operated at a too high water pressure combines with feed remnants and fecal material to form a “soup” replete with high levels of bacteria including E.coli. Young flocks from day-old through mid-cycle will drink from the drip cups ingesting a wide range of potential pathogens including Closridium spp. and diverse Enterobacteriacea. There is no point in trying to mitigate biofilm in the pipe work if the end results is contaminated water is made readily available to the birds in easy to access drip cups.

An April 2018 study conducted in Denmark in collaboration with a nationally certified microbiological laboratory documented the high level of contamination in water accumulating on drip cups. An assay of incoming water yielded 2 coliforms per 100ml and a total bacterial count of 4.5 x 101 cfu/ml. In contrast water sampled from drip cups yielded 1.6 x105 coliforms and 2.3x107 cfu/ml.

We do not need oversimplified rules-of-thumb to regulate watering systems. Managers should develop appropriate pressure settings given the specific watering system and drinker model installed and take into account ambient environmental conditions, ventilation settings and the age and growth rate of the flock. A well-designed and managed nipple type drinking system does not require a drip cup. This attachment negates the principle of an enclosed watering system and subjects flocks to a continual intake of pathogens.


Frank Perdue Scholarship Awarded for 2019


Charles "Ky" Meeks, Jr. of the University of Georgia was named the Frank Perdue Scholarship Student of the Year during the USPOULTRY Foundation College Student Career Program at the 2019 IPPE.

The scholarship is named in honor of Frank Perdue recognizing his dedication to education and advancing the careers of young people in the poultry industry.

Holly Henry of the University of Arkansas and Amelia Chapman were awarded second and third place scholarships.


Campbell Soup Company Reports Loss for Q2 of FY 2019


Campbell Soup Company recorded a loss of $59 million on sales of $2.7 billion for the second quarter of 2019 ending January 27th. The comparative values for the second quarter of FY 2018 ending January 28 th were a net profit of $285 million on sales of $2.2 billion with an EPS of 0.95 cents.

The Campbell Fresh division established during the regimen of the previous CEO Denise Morrison generated sales of $426 million or 8.8 percent of total company sales but lost $14 million. Subscribers are referred to previous posting on Campbell Soup Company and its foray into "healthy and organic" products involving the purchase of a number of companies including Bolthouse Farms at large premiums followed by incompetent execution of strategic plans.

It is noted that Campbell Soup Company increased long term debt from January 27th 2018 fourfold from $2 billion to $8.0 billion as reflected in the balance sheet reflecting January 27th 2019.

Results will not endear either the management or the Board to activist investors calling for sale or dismemberment rather than restructuring and piecemeal disposal of assets and brands a la Sears Holdings.


Inconsistencies in ASF Statistics on China


It is generally accepted that China has been less than transparent in reporting the magnitude of losses attributed to African swine fever (ASF).  Official reports document 111 confirmed outbreaks in 28 provinces.  In data provided by authorities and disseminated by official news services only one million hogs have been culled.  This is approximately 0.3 percent of the national herd. 


Reuters in a news item noted that the national herd had fallen by 13 percent in January 2019 compared to the corresponding month in 2018 with a 15 percent decline in breeding sows as reported by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.  Clearly, the magnitude of losses attributed to ASF is far greater than official reports.  This sentiment is supported by the fact that prices for live hogs have risen 20 percent since early March with a single daily increase of seven percent on Monday March 11th.



New Broiler Processing Capacity


Industry data suggests that five new or reconstructed plants will commence operation between the end of 2018 and early 2020. These include:


  • House of Raeford, NC – Reconstruction of a plant destroyed by fire
  • Sanderson Farms, TX - Q2 2019; 1.2 million per week
  • Mountaire Farms, NC – Q2 2019; 1.2 million per week
  • Lincoln Premium Poultry (Costco), NE Q3 2019; 1 million rising to 2 million by Q1 2020
  • Tyson Foods, TN – Q4 2019; presumed 1.2 million per week
  • Bell and Evans, PA – Q2 2020;1 million rising to 2 million per week


Dr. John Thomson to Lead U.S. Creamino™ sales for AlzChem


In a March 5th release, AlzChem resently divested from Evonik, announced the appointment of Dr. John Thomson as the U.S. Sales Manager for Feed Additives. During his career, Thomson has managed research programs with a number of feed and nutrition companies, providing technical support and training to customers and staff. Most  recently, he was responsible for the management of research and technical support programs for Creamino™, an innovative, patented preparation of guanidinoacetic acid (GAA).


Creamino feed additive was developed by AlzChem in Germany. The Company specializes in the manufacture and formulation of creatine for human nutrition. Creamino™ is marketed as a feed additive with the potential to improve feed efficiency in broilers and turkeys.


 “Steve Krask, CEO of AlzChem LLC stated “we are pleased to welcome Dr. Thomson to our growing team,” Krask added “He has extensive, hands-on experience with the Creamino™ product. Using his technical and industry knowledge, John will help nutritionists and farmers understand the benefits of this feed additive”


Thomson earned baccalaureate and master’s degrees from the University of Georgia followed by a doctorate in Nutrition from North Carolina State University. He will be located at the U.S. headquarters for AlzChem in Marietta, Georgia.


Iowa Enacts Revised “Ag Gag” Law


According to the March 14th edition of The Des Moines Register, Governor Kim Reynolds has signed a new “Ag Gag” law. It will now be a crime for representatives and agents of advocacy groups and the news media to use subterfuge and false statements on job applications to gain access to livestock facilities and meat packing plants to investigate working conditions, food safety and welfare.

The Act was reworded to avoid constitutional challenge that doomed “Ag Gag” laws passed by other states including Iowa in 2012. The Law was supported by the Iowa Corn Growers Association, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa Cattleman’s Association, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Pork Producers Association and the Monsanto Company.

Predictably animal rights groups have condemned the legislation and Mercy for Animals has urged visitors not to “spend money in Iowa if they care about animal rights and abuse”.

The Act received overwhelming support in both Houses of the Iowa legislature with Senator Ken Rozenboom (R-Oskaloosa) maintaining that the bill related to biosecurity a contention which will be challenged. Representative Liz Bennett (D-Cedar Rapids) considers that the legislation will “silence whistleblowers including long-time employees of any agricultural production facility who see wrongdoing.”

The Act creates the offense of “agricultural production facility trespass” defined as using deception to obtain access to a facility not open to the public with the intent to cause physical or economic harm or other injury to the operation, property or persons.

Daniel Zeno, Policy Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa stated that the new Act will be ruled unconstitutional. Existing legislation protects property from trespass and   currently prohibits causing physical harm to buildings and livestock.


Kroger to Introduce Nuro Grocery Delivery in Houston


Following an apparently successful trial in Scottsdale, AZ, The Kroger Company announced that deliveries will commence from Kroger stores in four ZIP Codes in the Houston region from two stores. Deliveries will be made using the Nuro autonomous vehicle which can deliver to curbside but not to a customer’s door.


Newcastle Disease Diagnosed in Northern California


On March 14th, the California Department of Food and Agriculture confirmed a diagnosis of vvND in a “backyard flock” near Redwood City in San Mateo County, CA. This is the first diagnosis of vvND outside the three-county area in Southern California. The ongoing outbreak that commenced during May 2018 has accounted for almost 400 diagnoses in backyard, predominantly fighting-cock flocks. Four commercial farms in Riverside County were infected presumably by extension from adjacent backyard flocks and were depleted. A single case was diagnosed in Utah in February with an epidemiologic connection to the cases in Southern California.

Authorities have not indicated either the type of birds involved or the size of the flock that was apparently depleted. Evidently epidemiologic investigations and surveillance are in progress and it is hoped that the Department will demonstrate a greater degree of transparency than it has exercised in the past 11 months.


Organic Farming has Negative Impact on the Environment


A study recently conducted in Sweden, published in Nature documented the potential impact of organic farming on the climate compared to conventional cultivation of crops. Winter wheat subject to organic cultivation has a 70 percent greater carbon opportunity cost compared to conventional cultivation.  This is due to the fact that lower yields require more land for the same quantity of food.  Stefan Wirsenius an associate professor at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden stated, “What I hope that people will take home from this research is that there is almost always a carbon storage cost of using land, regardless of purpose.”


*Searchinger, T.D. Accessing the Efficiency of Changes in Land Use for Mitigating Climate Change.  Nature 564: 249-253 (2018)


White House Budget Includes Cuts Include USDA


The 2020 budget request from the White House includes a $3.6 billion decrease from the 2019 estimate.  The bulk of the reduction would come from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). 


Of importance to the poultry industry is the proposal that the Food Safety and Inspection Service will increase user fees.  The budget calls for an additional $243 million in 2020 to provide for overtime, holiday and voluntary inspection services.  If approved, the user fee would commence in 2021.  The budget will also eliminate the one-time $7.5 million allotment to recruit and retain public health veterinarians. This incentive and scholarship program was initiated in 2018.


During 2019 the USDA will be evaluating new Campylobacter and Salmonella performance standards and will finalize various rules proposed in 2018.


H7N9 AI Vaccine for Humans to be Tested


St. Louis University College of Medicine is undertaking an evaluation of an H7N9 strain influenza vaccine in humans.  Following the emergence of this strain in China in 2013 the series of outbreaks have resulted in 1,500 confirmed cases with 600 fatalities.  The pandemic potential of H7N9 is recognized and accordingly the vaccine has been developed but its effectiveness can only be evaluated with a controlled field trial.  Unlike avian research, volunteers receiving the vaccine will not be challenged but protection will be determined by sero-conversion and level of protection in the event of natural exposure, should the H7N9 strain emerge.



Potential Threat to Exports to Mexico


The imposition of U.S. Section 232 tariffs allegedly on the basis of “National Security” imposed by the Administration threatens exports of chicken and grains to Mexico.  As reported by USAPEEC MondayLine the Undersecretary of Economy in Mexico is preparing a list of products that may incur tariffs of 7 to 25 percent.


The recently elected President of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is favor of self-sufficiency when possible and the president of the Mexican Agriculture Council is in favor of punitive measures against the U.S.


Chaz Wilson Joins Pilgrim’s Pride


Chaz Wilson who most recently was the COO at Grove Services has joined Pilgrim’s Pride U.S. to direct export strategy and distribution of products to Mexico, Asia and the Middle East.


Jayson Penn, president of Pilgrim’s USA stated, “We are excited to welcome Chaz to the Pilgrim’s team.”  He added, “He is a well-recognized and respected operational and sales leader who enjoys a proven track record of driving international sales growth for leading U.S. poultry exporters.”


Wilson has completed a 27-year career in international poultry sales with companies including Seaboard, ConAgra and Pilgrim’s Pride.  He has served on the Board of Directors of USAPEEC since 1998 and was chairman for the 2012 term.


Acidification of Feed Reduces Salmonella Content


Studies conducted in the U.K. demonstrated that 3,000 samples of feed, spillage and dust from nine feed mills yielded Salmonella at a significant rate of recovery. Although heat treatment carried out at 88°C will inactivate Salmonella without appreciable degradation of nutrient content, recontamination in the cooler and during post-pelleting transport and delivery resulted in reinfection.

The study demonstrated the value of organic acid supplementation in eliminating infection. Products containing combinations of formaldehyde have a residual effect of up to three weeks.


IPC Meeting Scheduled for New Orleans


The annual meeting of the International Poultry Council will take place in New Orleans April 13th to 18th at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in New Orleans The 2019 gathering will mark the end of the presidency of the IPC by USAPEEC President, Jim Sumner who has led the organization since 2005. It is anticipated that representatives from 27 member nations will attend. Speakers include Dr. Paul Aho of Poultry Perspective, Hannah Thompson of the Animal Agricultural Alliance, Cameron Bruett of JBS USA and Dr. Dennis Erpelding, Scientific Advisor to the IPC.



The IPC represents more than 80 percent of the World’s poultry production and 90 percent of poultry trade and was established to develop policies for the overall improvement of the global industry.


ASF Detected in Sausages Introduced Into South Korea


Authorities in South Korea have announced that pork sausages introduced into the nation by a traveler from China contained viable African Swine Fever virus. This is apparently the second detected incident involving contaminated pork products. Accordingly, authorities in South Korea have intensified surveillance at airports and ports.

In a separate precautionary measure, Canada has announced that it will deploy Beagle dogs at airports to detect contraband meat products in the luggage of travelers entering Canada. African Swine Fever virus can remain viable in meat products for extended periods and this route of transmission is responsible for extension into the Iberian Peninsula from West Africa in the 1960s and is possibly associated with more recent outbreaks in Asian nations.

On March 18th. U.S. Customs detained 1 million lbs. of illegally imported partly cured pork from China in 50 non-refrigerated containers at the port of Elizabeth in New Jersey. Given the viability of ASF virus in meat products, the prevalence rate in China this consignment represents a risk to the U.S. swine industry. The question is how many more shipments entered the U.S. previously undetected. It is reassuring to note increased surveillance at U.S. ports of entry.


China Imports Consignment of Pork


During the week of March 7th, China confirmed purchase of 24,000 metric tons of U.S. pork. This order is attributed to declining supplies associated with the ongoing outbreak of African swine fever (ASF). The extent of losses has been understated by authorities in China. The decision to import U.S. pork despite a 25 percent tariff together with rising prices in China attests to the magnitude of the problem which far exceeds the claimed depopulation of one million animals. Since August 2018, China has admitted to 111 confirmed cases in 28 provinces, although the number of hogs on the affected farms appears to be low in relation to the effect on the market.

The most recent USDA-FAS GAIN Report on China alludes to the projected increase in demand for poultry as a substitute for pork. Although authorities have correctly noted that ASF virus is not transmissible to humans, there is a measure of rejection of pork similar to the effect noted previously with the outbreak of avian influenza H9N2 strain, which depressed chicken consumption in China.



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