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Iowa State assesses African Swine Fever in China

As African Swine Fever has spread through China’s hog operations, the disease that was first seen in smaller operations has spread to larger ones, according to an assessment by Iowa State University.

All of the producers in cases before October had less than 1,000 pigs in their inventory. However, seven cases in October involved producers with more than 1,000 pigs, and the three largest producers in these cases had 19,938, 7,684, and 6,640 hogs.

“The fact that the disease reoccurred in a province that was already on high alert, and infected large commercial producers that supposedly had better biosecurity measures, is worrying,” the Iowa State economists wrote. The total hog inventory involved in ASF cases has reached at least 60,592, with cases in October accounting for 89 percent.

The Chinese government has taken a number of steps to mitigate the disease spread, including quarantining areas, culling infected hogs, restricting hog and pork product transportation and restricting slaughter and live hog markets in affected areas.

Despite the government’s active response, challenges remain, the Iowa State economists concluded. First, the transmission channel is not entirely clear, making it difficult to form effective policy responses. Second, the prevalence of backyard producers means high monitoring cost. Third, the restrictions on the movement of pork products are more relaxed compared to those on the transportation of live hogs. Since the ASF virus can survive up to 150 days in refrigeration, the shipment of hog products posts a significant risk, the economists warned.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Monday a recent uptick in China imports of U.S. pork even in the face of tariffs China placed on pork earlier this year is believed to be evidence of growing concerns about the disease spread.

The Iowa State economists noted that even if the ASF outbreak leads China to import more pork from other countries including Canada and the European Union instead of the United States, because China is the largest pork producer and consumer in the world, U.S. pork producers could still benefit from the opportunity to backfill into other markets.

Source : Meatingplace