EU welfare rules create confusion for forecasters

October 2012

The October issue of Whole Hog gives a focus to the reports from various EU member states about the newsow stalls welfare rules and how they will affect sow numbers in 2013. The only thing that is clear is that it’s not clear…..The impact of recent the feed price hikes is also an issue.  The US hog census results are discussed in the issue and it seems too soon to call a sow cutback.  The EU’s latest Outlook report does, however, predict a fall in pork exports in 2013 and this is described in the issue.   Pig prices in Europe seem to have hit a plateau after recent record hikes.

In the global pork trade Canadian exports to Russia have soared and the Canucks seem to be on a growth path with their exports now. But US pork export volumes are seen to have fallen in the most recent month’s data.  Australia’s pork exports are flatlining whilst imports are growing steadily. The South Korean import trade is decelerating but  can still show some growth on “normal” demand if a comparison is made with 2010 levels.

Taiwan’s discovery of ractopamine in US-sourced pork will not help trade between those two countries and the forecast of falling feed demand in 2013 by Alltech suggest global livestock numbers will be lower in 2013.  VION’s closure of its Scottish meat plant and the subsequent war of words with a potential buyer suggest that VION’s management may be heading for the exit in the UK. The Rabobanks’ reports on commodity prices and its view of pork prices in 2013 are interesting as is the USDA’s GAIN report on the Japanese pork market.

Dr John Strak, Editor Whole Hog