According to the USDA's latest Livestock and Poultry: world Markets and Trade report, global pork production is forecast 2 percent higher to a record 103.4 million tons. Growth is mostly attributed to recovery in South Korea and China. Modest growth is also expected from major exporters the United States, Russia, and Brazil.

South Korea is forecast up 21 percent to 1.0 million tons as their pork industry rebuilds following the devastating foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak that slashed their production by 25 percent. Record high swine and pork prices have encouraged producers to quickly rebuild despite higher
compound feed prices. Sow inventories have expanded rapidly and beginning sow stocks are expected to reach 98 percent of pre-FMD levels. Producers are expected to continue to rebuild through 2012.

However, it is unlikely that total inventories at the end of 2012 will reach pre-FMD levels due to new regulations increasing minimum barn space requirements and environmental regulations. Additionally, the recently implemented Free Trade Agreement with the EU is expected to increase relative competitiveness of EU pork, which in turn is expected to put downward pressure on Korean production.

China’s production is forecast to recover 4 percent to 51.3 million tons following swine disease problems and poor producer returns. The rebound is being fueled by sharply higher prices and recent government measures such as the productive sow subsidy, although swine inventories are not expected
to fully recover in 2012. Expansion in small scale operations, which still account for a majority of production, is being constrained by higher feed costs and swine disease threats. Meanwhile, large scale operations report some difficulties in acquiring additional land necessary for expansion.

The United States is forecast up 2 percent to 10.5 million tons. Producers are expected to continue to benefit from productivity gains, with the pig crop up 2 percent while beginning sow stocks have increased only slightly. Greater available supplies compared to competing proteins are expected to
bolster domestic consumption.

Russia is forecast up 3 percent to 2.0 million tons, supported by positive producer gains and government support and investment. Producers have expanded their breeding herds in the face of lower feed prices, less import competition due to a sharp reduction in the import quota, and the
prospect of higher pork prices. Production growth is expected to come from larger operations, as
smaller producers find it difficult to compete with new, modernized farms.

Japan’s production is forecast up 2 percent to 1.3 million tons as producers are expected to rebuild. Greater domestic supplies are expected to mitigate import demand.

The Canadian hog industry has reached a turning point after several years of decline. Pork production is forecast up 1 percent to 1.8 million tons with modest increases in beginning sow inventories and the pig crop. Relatively high feed costs and uncertainties in both pork prices and foreign demand will likely temper growth.

Brazilian pork production is forecast up 2 percent, to 3.3 million tons, as domestic demand strengthens in response to industry promotions. Consumption is also expanding among the growing Brazilian middle class, as pork prices are competitive with beef.