One more year is closing and this being my first as Editor of Pig International, I think am sharing my thoughts on the status of the global pig industry as seen. I am sure these issues will continue in 2014, along with new challenges - but, we're used to this!
Cereal harvest has been good, but not as good as we would have wanted it for prices to drop dramatically. Year-end stock projections remain low, and demand is always high, so prices are rather resistant; but, much improved than a year ago!
Mixed signals, depending on regional harvest problems, but again, things are better than a year ago, with a promising feature, especially as bio-diesel demand in the EU will drop due to new legislation.
Porcine epidemic disease virus continues to trouble the United States, with no vaccine currently available. Pork supply has been projected to drop in the winter months due to the outbreak earlier in the year. On the other hand, African swine fever disease virus continues to spread in Russia and neighboring countries, with killing and destroying affected animals currently being the only solution. Yet, there are some promising initiatives for the development of an effective vaccine.
Production remains strong in the US, but it is dropping elsewhere, with most recent example being that from EU where mandatory levels in fuel has dropped from 10 percent down to 6 percent. This is expected to release substantial quantities of cereals and oilseeds for animal feeding, reducing thus local prices.
Antibiotics in the US
There has been continuing interest in evaluating the correct use of antibiotics in US, most likely as a proactive step to ensure legislation will not outpace industry practices. Lessons learned in the EU are being explored and tested under US conditions. This is gathering momentum!
Welfare in the EU
Is this perhaps the new 'marketing' frontier after the antibiotic ban? Welfare requirements are increasing in the EU, but without being able to enforce similar requirements to imported pork products, EU pig producers are faced, once again, with an expensive disadvantage!
Cobalt in premixes
Cobalt is not required to be added in pig diets. Yet, many old-style premixes continue to use it. Now, new EU regulations have called for its ban in diets for pigs. At last, one piece of legislation that is working 'for' pig producers!