ANALYSIS - Last week saw over 20,000 pig producers and other professionals gather in Des Moines, Iowa, US, for the 2015 World Pork Expo trade show.
Covering the event for ThePigSite, Sarah Mikesell spoke to some of the most important figures in the North American pig industry about some of the current major issues.
Jim Long, president of Genesus, spoke about how the Russia import ban and the huge sow liquidation in China will support EU and North American markets.
Mr Long said that all indications show that over 7 million sows have been eliminated from the herd. In context, 7 million sows is equal to Canadian and US sow production combined.
"I believe we are going to get a boost in the marketplace in both the EU and North America from China needing to import pork. I don't believe that China will ever be able to recover their production base," Long said. "So this will be a long-term opportunity."
Speaking on Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv), former president of the National Pork Producers Council and current chair of the trade committee, Dr Howard Hill, explained that the recent outbreaks are likely due to contamination from trucks but that many producers still believe contaminated feed has been partially to blame.
The PED situation has improved slightly with US producers not experiencing the significant losses like in 2014.
"We do have outbreaks this year, but most of the outbreaks have occurred in finishers rather than sow farms like they were last year," said Dr Hill.
Despite the fluctuations in the pork supply due to PEDv, pork production is up two to four per cent which has pressured hog prices, and supply is not expected to be an issue in 2015.
Discussing the use of antibiotics, Ron Prestage, veterinarian and National Pork Producers Council President, explained how by the end of 2016 retailers and food companies must, by law, eliminate antibiotics from their supply systems.
The US Food and Drug Administration announced the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) final rule which brings the use of VFD drugs (animal drugs intended for use in or on animal feed that require the supervision of a licensed veterinarian) under veterinary supervision so that they are used only when necessary for assuring animal health.
The VFD final rule provides veterinarians in all states the ability to authorise the use of medically important antimicrobials in feed when needed for specific animal health purposes.