China has set a historic milestone in pork production, reaching an all-time high of 57.94 million metric tons in 2023, as per official data unveiled on Wednesday.
Continued Growth and Intensified Activities
The annual output signifies a notable 4.6% increase from the previous year, primarily fueled by heightened slaughter activities in the final quarter. Farmers strategically increased production to counter losses arising from pig oversupply and the persistent African Swine Fever outbreak.
In the fourth quarter alone, production surged to 14.93 million tons, marking a substantial 7% rise compared to the corresponding period in 2022.
Major players in the hog breeding industry, such as Muyuan Foods Co and Wen’s Foodstuff Group Co, reported a surge in hog sales in December. Muyuan, for instance, recorded a 25% increase, selling 6.6 million hogs compared to November.
Contrasting Trends: Decrease in Pig Herd Amidst Production Surge
Despite expectations of heightened pork demand during the winter season and approaching Chinese New Year festivities, the national pig herd experienced a decline of 4.1%, totaling 434.22 million heads in 2023.
Impact on U.S. Pork Imports and Domestic Markets
The substantial rise in domestic production had a notable impact on China’s imports of U.S. pork, which witnessed a 4% decrease from the previous year, totaling 466,511 metric tons. The U.S. Meat Export Federation attributed this decline to larger domestic production and inventories, coupled with weakened consumer demand, resulting in a slowdown in China’s 2023 import volumes.
Diverse Landscape of Meat Production
While pork took center stage, other meat sectors also experienced growth in China. Beef output increased by 4.8% to 7.53 million tons, poultry production saw a 4.9% rise to 25.63 million tons, and lamb/mutton production recorded a modest increase of 1.3%, reaching 5.31 million tons during the same period.
China’s dynamic meat production landscape showcases its ability to adapt to market forces and challenges, reflecting the country’s ongoing efforts to meet the demands of its vast and diverse consumer base.