The most recent reports on the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak in China indicate that between 30%-50% of the farms have been affected.  Estimates are as high as 1,000,000 pigs have been culled as China tries to control the spread of the disease.

The average amount of pork consumed per person in China is between 66.2 – 77.2 pounds per year.  In order to meet the demand for pork and offset China’s domestic losses could be an opportunity for the U.S. pork producers.

Bloomberg has reported that China has already started to make massive purchases of imported pork.  In the first week of March they purchased 23,800 metric tonnes – the most in over two years.

At the same time the U.S. and China are getting close to resolving the tariff dispute.  Once that happens experts predict it will unleash a huge demand for imported U.S. pork – driving pork prices to levels not seen in years – if ever.

The U.S. pork industry should be preparing now to capitalize on this opportunity.

Reproductive performance in sows is one of the leading factors impacting profitability for pork producers.  However, the summer months can have a negative impact on a sow’s performance due to metabolic and oxidative stress during the warm months.

Studies have found that the addition of EFAs in a sow’s diet during the summer can help to increase her reproductive efficiency.  This enables producers to avoid seasonal lows in production and increase their margins by taking advantage of strong market prices for pigs marketed in the early summer months.

At the Midwest Animal Science meetings in March, 2019, Becker et al. 2019 reported on a controlled study in sows evaluating Feed Energy’s BuildR2 product at 3.2% of the diet during lactation (Fig. 1.).

BuildR2 is a proprietary Feed Energy formulation of long-, medium-, and short-chain fatty acids and triglycerides with an ideal ratio of EFAs (linoleic and α-linolenic acids) for sows. The addition of 3.2% BuildR2 significantly increased lactation feed intake (>1 lb. per day). The increase in feed intake resulted in a significant benefit to the sows by helping her to maintain body condition.  And, consistent with prior control studies, the response to supplementation in the subsequent litter increased total pigs born by 0.75 pigs per litter!

With strong market prices forecasted for this summer, the health and reproductive benefits of BuildR2 in sows supports significant economic returns for U.S. pork producers.

(Fig. 1.)