China is a pork powerhouse with its enormous people and pig population, as well as its per capita demand for pork. Those factors alone are enough reason to keep a close eye on this market.
Last fall, I attended ILDEX China — the International Livestock and Dairy Expo, organized by
The British Pig Association represented nine different
breeding companies. As Chris Jackson, with BPA, noted, “ Exporting breeding stock to a new market is a laborious task, as veterinary protocols have to be established. However, our efforts improved immensely after former Prime Minister Tony Blair came here on a visit. The Chinese want purebred stock with full pedigrees; a delegation actually came to the United Kingdom in 2007 to hand-select breeding stock.” UK
Speaking with Yu Yu, who is
Asia’s regional director of the National Renderers Association, and a graduate of , we discussed feedstuffs. “Recycling used cooking oil, or Michigan State University UCOas it’s called, and including it in hog diets is big business,” he reports. “We import UCOfrom fast-food restaurants to use in hog diets in U.S. .” Yu adds that recently China UCOprices have increased as it also is in demand with the biofuels industry.
He points out that Chinese pork producers can use
UCOin pellets up to 5 percent; beyond that level, pellet quality suffers.
From its small beginnings in
, Olmix is now a worldwide company. While Mistral is currently Olmix’s main product, the company is in the process of getting M Tox +, a mycotoxin inhibitor, registered. Lu Nan, the company’s manager for France , is hopeful that approval will be granted early this year. China
“There are many large hog operations in
,” China Nannotes. For example, the Wings group has 34 farms and sells 1 million slaughter hogs a year. In contrast, 50 percent of ’s pork still comes from backyard farms, with a few sows at the most. “Hence, monitoring and control of disease is very difficult compared to Western-style pig farms,” he adds. “Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (Blue Ear) has been a massive problem, causing pigs to die and resulting in a shortage of pork — China ’s staple meat. It has pushed up prices and ultimately inflation. For now, efficient pig farmers are doing alright, but poor-performing units are losing money, due mainly to high feed costs.” China
There was a wide range of equipment on display, spanning from industrial-size feed milling, mixing and cubing equipment, on through to syringes and artificial insemination tools.
GSI had a prominent booth, featuring equipment ranging from farrowing crates to various feeder options.
The Beijing South Water Livestock Co. displayed some
rubber, spiral, re-useable semen catheters. Young producers might be dismissive about using re-usable catheters, but in today’s world, think about the amount of plastic (and oil) that’s used to make disposable catheters and the associated packaging — all of which must be disposed of or recycled at a cost. This was an interesting and encouraging progression. Melrose
Many companies were promoting animal-health products, antibiotics and feed additives. One such company was Qingdao Ease Pharmachem Co.
“Quality control is very important in our business, along with product testing,” says Liu Zhenhua, the company’s export manager. “Our turnover amounts to $20 million (
) annually, with our products being widely distributed throughout U.S. . Plus, we export to more than 10 different countries.” China
No doubt quality control was on a lot of Chinese companies’ priority lists, as was their need to emphasize that fact.
Following the ILDEX China show, I travelled about an hour from
The farm, which has 500 sows, was built in 1997. It occupies a 13-ha site and has a 14-person staff.
“The farm has three functions: to train future pig farmers, to act as an artificial insemination center and to function as a commercial unit,” according Zhong Jingtian, the farm’s director. Training involves classes of 20 to 30 students, lasting for a week or two.
The farm’s genetics are currently comprised of Dalland-20 lines, Large Whites, and French and Canadian Pietrains. Operating a five-week batch system, weaning age averages 24 days.
Gestating sows are fed a 14 percent crude-protein diet. Lactating sows, which are not induced to farrow, receive an 18 percent crude-protein diet and are fed by hand. At farrowing, piglets are dusted in Mistral, which dries them off, reduces chilling and gets the piglets suckling faster.
Sows are inseminated 2.5 times on average, with 24 hours between breeings. Weaned piglets average 18 pounds, and receive a 21 percent crude-protein creep diet. Hogs are marketed at 242 pounds liveweight; the males are not castrated. Normally, hogs are castrated in
All feed is brought in (as pellets); buying feed is quite unusual as most Chinese units mill and mix feed on site. There are no in-feed additives.
As of 2007, PRRS vaccination is now legally required. Pigs also are vaccinated for foot-and-mouth disease, pneumonia and E.coli. Zinc oxide was used to control post-weaning scours, but it has gotten very expensive, and so pigs are limit-fed after weaning to reduce the potential for scours. Fortunately for the Chinese, porcine multi-systemic wasting syndrome (porcine circovirus associated disease) is not a problem.
The farm runs a 40-boar AI stud. On-farm semen collection, or as they call it “do-it-yourself” AI, is most common in China, so having the AI stud helps train students on boar semen collection and teaches laboratory techniques.
When I visited, the farm was receiving 90 cents per carcass pound for its market hogs. Breakeven costs ran 66 cents per pound. But high feed prices are starting to bite deeper into profits, so production costs will soon be rising — mirroring most other parts of the world.