Mary Auth

By: Mary Auth on February 24th, 2021

Print/Save as PDF

Still Top of Mind - Around the World

Posts | Swine

Organizations, businesses, and producers worldwide continue to keep African Swine Fever (ASF) at the forefront of concerns that need to be monitored and responded to. In the United States, four of the top 21 wishes for the U.S. Pork Industry for 2021 addressed ASF.Number three on their list is that the “U.S. swine population remains ASF-free.” Number four is that “a commercial DIVA (Differentiating Infected from Vaccinated) compatible vaccine for ASF is ready for market.”

The other two cover response to and planning for ASF should it enter the U.S. The list was prepared by National Hog Farmer – capturing the collective concerns from:

  • National Pork Producers Council
  • National American Meat Institute
  • U.S. Meat Export Federation
  • Several others

Rabobank predicts that globally ASF and COVID-19 will be the greatest drivers for change in demand and animal protein consumption in 2021. Most notably, China’s ability to recover from the 2018-19 outbreak of ASF and their shift to larger production facilities will impact the supply of animal protein in that country.

China is forecasted to increase its swine herd by ten-percent, returning to 80-percent of pre-ASF stock levels.

As supply grows in China, uncertainty about the spread of ASF in Europe keeps growth steady or declining – particularly in Western Poland and Germany, where more than 4,000 cases have surfaced since mid-November 2019.

There is similar uncertainty in the Philippines, where ASF outbreaks continue, and the country relies on small-scale farms for production.

China, in part, is building bigger hog farms. One facility, as reported by Reuters, will eventually produce 2.1 million hogs per year. The operation will house 84,000 sows and piglets at a time. In comparison, the average hog farm in Iowa is a little more than 4,500 heads.

To hedge against an ASF outbreak, the facility has instituted:

  • Thermal imaging cameras to measure hog temperature
  • Filters all the air
  • Sterilizes all the feed before it enters

The shift away from small family farms is being driven in part by ASF and the ability to assert control over its spread. Even now, existing small hog farms are considered the source of a variant of ASF.

The “new” virus is attributed to an illegal vaccine circulating among smaller farmers who are inclined to try it because of extreme pressure from unscrupulous salespeople and the fear of having their herds wiped out by ASF. Thus far, government officials have not located the source of the illegal vaccines.

As demand for animal protein in the U.S. and the world grows post-COVID (as predicted by some sources), new hog facilities may be needed to meet the demand. Summit Engineering is poised to meet that demand and ensure every building they engineer will be built, taking ASF in mind.