Because of recent bird flu outbreaks in China, consumers switching to pork products will offset the losses in the poultry sector and reduce the net effect on feed demand, according to the US Grains Council.
“Because hogs are less efficient converters of feed to meat and use a higher proportion of energy feeds like corn, any substitution of pork for poultry that occurs will dampen the negative effect of reduced poultry production on feed demand, particularly corn," says Bryan Lohmar, US Grains Council director in China. "Conversely, fish are more efficient converters and use less energy feed, so if consumers switch to fish this will help soybean increase demand a little, but not corn."
China-based market research company, JC Intelligence, reports in April 2013: The H7N9 avian influenza outbreak may cause a 20 percent reduction in China’s feed usage in the April to June 2013 period as poultry meat sales have fallen by as much as 70 percent. Poultry enterprises across China are reported to have cut back on their bird inventory.
The losses to China’s poultry sector from the H7N9 virus have already reached US$ 1.5 billion, says Chinese industry sources, due to the slaughter of flocks and the temporary closure of live bird markets around Shanghai and Beijing to limit possibilities for bird-to-human contact.