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ASF Inflicts Renewed Toll on Northern China's Hog Herd
USAgNet - 04/05/2021

A wave of African swine fever outbreaks this year has wiped out at least 20% of the breeding herd in northern China, industry sources and analysts said, exceeding expected losses and raising fears about the potential for further impact in the south.

The estimates point to the extent of the disease's resurgence in the first quarter of 2021 after more than a year of declining outbreaks, heralding a significant setback to China's efforts to replenish its hog herds after African swine fever reached the country in August 2018 and wiped out 50% of the country's pigs within a year.

According to Reuters, the virus' impact slowed by late 2019 as pig numbers fell and large producers learned to minimise its spread by removing infected pigs from herds early, a process the industry calls "tooth extraction".

But an exceptionally cold winter, a higher density of pigs following a year of restocking, and new strains of swine fever triggered a fresh wave of outbreaks across the northeast, northern China and Henan province, the country's third-biggest hog producing province.

"At least 20% of the herd was affected, maybe even 25%" in the northern and northeastern Chinese provinces because of outbreaks during the first quarter, said Jan Cortenbach, chief technical officer at feed maker Wellhope-De Heus Animal Nutrition.

Henan lost between 20% and 30% of its breeding sows, a report by Founder Cifco Futures said on Monday, adding the damage could be "irreversible".

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