Pork production in China this year is to reach the highest level since 2015 despite that hog producers have slashed their herd amid negative margins that triggered huge losses since 2021.
Margins for hog breeding in China remained below the breakeven point across the whole sector for the first four months of this year, and have just begun to turn positive in June as hog prices rebounded sharply in May.
This has forced large hog producers to dump their herd for cost saving purposes. Total hog herd in China sank to 423 million heads as of the end of March this year, down 6% since the beginning of the year.
Nevertheless, a study from the government-backed research body Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science forecasted pork output in China to exceed 55 million tons, which would be the highest since 2015 when the volume was 56.45 million tons.
Despite the trend of falling herd size, it is plausible for China to produce a larger quantity of pork as the life cycle for a hog generally spans 5-7 months, meaning that the record hog herd in 2021 will convert into pork supply in 2022.
In addition, the study expects that the overall livestock and aquatic output will be stable in 2022.