UPDATE 2-China Q2 pork output at highest in years after herd recovery

China’s second-quarter pork output climbed to 13.78 million tonnes, according to calculations based on official data released on Friday, the highest level for the period since at least 2015.

The surge came after farmers increased sow numbers in 2020 and 2021 after the deadly African swine fever disease had ravaged the herd in 2019.

The second quarter is normally the period with the smallest pork production, as it follows a surge in slaughter for China’s Lunar New Year holiday during the January-March period.

This year China produced about the same amount of pork in April-June as last year’s fourth quarter, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed. It was also a 2.4% increase on the same period a year ago.

The data also showed 365.87 million hogs were slaughtered in the first half.

Of that, 16 listed hog producers sold a total 63.6 million pigs, a year-on-year increase of 48%, said Boya Consulting, with top producers Muyuan Foods and Wens Foodstuff reporting a jump of 80% and 70% respectively.

The high production came as demand contracted due to repeated COVID-19 outbreaks, however, creating excess supply and pressuring prices and farming profits.

Farmers lost money for much of the first six months of this year, with margins only turning positive in June. <JCI-HOGM-HENAN>

They began culling some of their sows late last year, speeding up the pace in the first quarter amid heavy losses, and that could mean a reduction in output later in 2022.

Rising prices are already causing concern in Beijing with the state planner stepping in to try to cool a surge in recent weeks.

However, the statistics bureau said the total pig herd grew to 430.57 million head at the end of June, up from 422.53 million head at the end of March.