Latest issue

China’s pork imports collapse in April

The two charts reproduced in this Blog are not comfortable viewing for Western pigmeat exporters.  Certainly, if the patterns shown here are repeated over the summer then Continue reading

Breakfast means Breakfast – OK?

The UK’s referendum on 23 June 2016 has now created a new word and place in the English dictionary – Brexit. The referendum result – a win by 52% to 48% for the Leavers – means that the UK’s current crop of politicians has to negotiate an exit for the UK from the EU i.e. they have to deliver Brexit.   Within hours of the Brexit vote there was a rush Continue reading

Hogmageddon in the autumn?

The US hog price has behaved like the proverbial dead cat in the last few months. It was falling and then it bounced – and now it’s back on the floor, twitching. I fear this may portend a very weak global hog price in the autumn. Indeed, we may finally get “hogmageddon”. This contrasts with Continue reading

What – no growth in Chinese pork imports?

The CEOs of pork processors and farmer organizations are fond of saying that there are big opportunities for pigmeat exporters to China. But do the numbers support this claim? No, they don’t Continue reading

What would you do with $2 trillion?

January’s issue of Whole Hog Brief covers a range of subjects including: German hog numbers, exchange rate changes, weakening pig prices in the EU, North America and China, and the faltering export performance of US and Canadian packers but there is one issue that I want to highlight here Continue reading

Hold tight – 2015 will be a rollercoaster!

The front page of the December issue of Whole Hog presents the key data from the USDA’s quarterly hog census (released 23 December). These numbers suggest that  the global pig industry faces a boom and bust scenario in 2015. The impact of PEDv has created ideal conditions for supply shortages/price increases/production hikes in North America but Continue reading

Brazil’s soccer success not matched by its pork export performance

 It’s the World Cup and Brazil will be in the news this month as soccer players show off their skills. Brazil is famous for its soccer and its economy has grown in the last decade with its agriculture and agri-business  pushed to perform at world class levels. But has Brazil’s pig industry been winning in the global market for pork exports and can it top the league of global pork exporters in the future?   At first sight Continue reading

Europe’s pig farmers top the league table

I am often asked to assess the competitiveness of pig producers in different countries. But comparing the performance of farmers in different countries is tricky – exchange rate variations often misrepresent the actual competitiveness of producers at a particular moment. However, technical comparisons – without money valuations – can give a more reliable insight through time. On that score the latest InterPIG report (using 2012 data for 16 countries and regions) produced by BPEX/AHDB appears to prove that some of Europe’s pig farmers are the most technically advanced in the world. I have made a full write up of the InterPIG report in the November issue of Whole Hog and you can purchase the BPEX report at   The data in the report suggest that the British pig industry is still some way behind Continue reading

Smithfield and Shuanghui create a Chinese puzzle

The announcement of the takeover bid for Smithfield Foods by the Chinese company Shuanghui caught some observers by surprise. But the tendency for cash-rich Chinese companies and investors to purchase productive assets, brands and know-how in the west should have been expected to spread to the food and drink sector: especially when the Chinese food sector is growing at double digit rates along with the demand for “safe, quality” food products. In the June issue of Whole Hog we devote two pages to considering Continue reading

Is H7N9 supporting the US hog price?

The first three quarters of 2013 looked set to be planned, and probably painful, for US hog farmers. After record prices and record exports in 2011 and 2012 last summer’s hike in feed prices spoilt the prospect of a winter holiday in Florida as hog margins turned negative. But, according to the census data, farmers gritted their teeth, held on to their sows,  and hoped for better weather and a big corn harvest in 2013 in the expectation that improved productivity and the age-old hog price cycle would get them through the winter of 2012/13. If and when feed prices dropped in the autumn of 2013 they expected to get their reward.

But it hasn’t worked out quite like that.

North American hog prices have fallen back in 2013 – and so have Europe’s – but not by as much as might have been expected. And yet US pork exports are Continue reading