Pork Commentary: Annual AASV Meeting

by 5m Editor
21 March 2012, at 6:40am

US - Last week, we participated in the Annual American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) meeting held in downtown Denver, Colorado, writes Jim Long.

The conference was well organized by the AASV staff and included nearly 1,000 attendees from 29 countries. The professionalism of the overall conference was quite impressive.

The event hosted a total of 19 seminars between pre conference and regular conference mostly directed toward scientific efforts to improve the swine industry. The final day of the event an interesting discussion of this year’s PRRS took place. Dr Morrison (University of Minnesota) asked the General Assembly why there seems to be an increased incidence of PRRS from the last 6 – 12 months. Is it due to 1) mild winter or 2) everything else (more virulent virus etc...).

Overwhelmingly, roughly 80 per cent of the veterinarians in the room elected option 2 saying the weather is not as big a factor as philosophized and we as an industry need to continue to learn about virus, bio security, genetic resistance, etc...

Last week we introduced at the AASU Dr Pat Hoffmann as Genesus’ veterinarian based out of our Ames Iowa office. Pat grew up in Iowa, graduated from Iowa State in Animal Science. He then worked in production management for a large hog production system. Pat then returned to Iowa State to become a veterinarian. Since graduation Pat has worked in a private practice. Pat will be responsible for Genesus Nucleus, multiplication, bio security, and health monitoring with liaison to customers and veterinarians in the community domestically but also globally. Pat is a vet and a pig person. Genesus is a dedicated swine genetic company with a production system focused on only the best health. Customers expect it and deserve it.

US Pork Exports

We have been very aggressive over the last few months in our belief US pork exports will stay strong through the summer of 2012. US January pork export data in January proved out this bullish sediment - second time ever over 500 million pounds in monthly exports with a jump of 132 million pounds over last January; Japan, China, Mexico, and South Korea are all up.

The latest China swine price we have is 15.62 Rmb/kg live weight or $1.12 US per pound live weight. The US price is about 62 cents per pound live weight. The difference is $125 per market hog. The average Chinese consumer makes about $7000 US a year. The price of hogs in China is a direct reflection of lack of domestic supply. With $125 per head difference is there any surprise that pork is finding its way to China? We expect the pork pull to China will continue, rising disposable incomes, swine disease and abandonment of back yard production are a recipe for high Chinese hog prices.

Mexico is similar. Market hog prices are leading to a $40 per head higher price in Mexico than the USA. That pulls pork there.

The global swine prices whether it’s China, Mexico, Japan, or South Korea are all quite similar. The price difference will continue to encourage entrepreneurs to take advantage. As US pork supply drops seasonally over the coming weeks the demand in these export markets will push US cash prices up to $1.00 lean per pound.


Taiwan continues to give issue with the US pork industry because Ractopamine (Paylean) is legal. This is a blatant bogus trade barrier. Taiwan has an industry because of disease (including FMD) and high feed costs can’t compete with American pork. They want to shove their manufactured finished goods tariff free to Americans but in turn want to use a construed health issue to stop American pork from entering. Man up Taiwan! Trade works both ways.


The hog market is languishing. The National price at the end of last week was $82.73 lean per pound. Weekly marketing’s were 2.174 million head up 1.6 per cent over last year. Market weights are similar. Seasonally we expect market numbers to drop 150,000 head per week and weights to decline. Less pork available will push prices up sooner rather than later.