The number of pigs sent to market in China fell 17% to 600 million head in 2009, said Guan Wutai, animal sciences professor at the South China Agricultural University at a recent conference.

He told attendees of the Diamond V Asian Distributor Technical Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, that livestock disease was the main cause of the decline. Common health problems affecting pigs in China include stress, cracked feet, mites and insufficient feed, he said.

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He also summarized trends in swine facilities, noting that new farrow-to-finish farms in China tend to focus on modern technology for efficient production with lower environmental impact.