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Rate of PEDv Infections Appears To Be Accelerating
Over the past several weeks there has been considerable anecdotal evidence to suggest that the rate of PEDv outbreaks in the United States has accelerated. The figure below appears on the website of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) and shows the weekly number of new cases reported in the United States. In the latest week reported, 265 new cases were added, bringing the total of cases reported since April 2013 to 2,957. The data indicates that reported PEDv cases jumped in January. While the average weekly number of new cases in December was 141.2, the average number in January—through January 26— was 220.5.

In all likelihood, however, this number understates the number of cases because not every outbreak site is sampled and tested for the disease. Moreover, the AASV sample reports operations with no information provided on the number of swine affected. A USDA/APHIS technical note  ech_note.pdf states “…PED is not a listed disease for either the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) or the USDA, so no quarantines or movement restrictions are in place either internationally or interstate.” The absence of reporting requirements obviously makes it difficult to quantify the national incidence of the disease and to estimate its economic effects.

The data depicted in the first figure below is also reported on the AASV website by type of operation: suckling, nursery, grower/finisher, sow/boar, and unknown. These data, shown in the second figure below, highlight the particular vulnerability of very young animals (the “suckling” category in this dataset) to the disease.

The USDA/APHIS Technical Note states, “In suckling pigs, mortality commonly reaches 50-80 percent…” Due to the continued spread of the disease and the likely impact that the loss of young animals strongly implies, USDA lowered its forecast of 2014 pork production by a total of 160 million pounds, or -0.7 percent from its previous forecast. Production losses from PED-related animal deaths in 2014 are expected to be partially offset by continued strong increases in slaughter weights. Average dressed weights in 2014 are expected to be about 210 pounds per head, more than 3 pounds above weights in 2013. While year-over-year slaughter numbers are expected to be lower, total pork production in 2014 is expected to be 23.4 billion pounds, 1 percent above last year.

2013 Pork Exports Lower
Total pork exports for 2013 were just shy of 5 billion pounds, or 7.2 percent below 2012. Lower exports stemmed primarily from demand weakness in Asia and from the absence of Russia as a buyer of U.S. pork products. Exports to Japan, still the largest foreign buyer of U.S. pork products, were almost 3 percent below a year ago. Lower Japanese demand for U.S. pork is largely attributable to slightly higher domestic pork production, a 16.5 percent year-over-year depreciation of the yen relative to the U.S. dollar in 2013, and higher 2013 beef imports. U.S. shipments to China\Hong Kong were more than 16 percent below 2012 volumes, due likely to adequate domestic pork supplies in China. Lower Chinese demand for U.S. pork products last year lends credence to the idea that China treats imports as asupplement to domestic production. In the absence of negative supply shocks in the Chinese pork sector, U.S. exports to China\Hong Kong tend to be steady but not
noteworthy. In 2013, average monthly shipments to China\Hong Kong were 54 million pounds, whereas the average in 2012—when China experienced some production problems—was almost 65 million pounds. In South Korea, 2013 U.S. pork shipments were lower, due likely to continued strong production recovery from disease problems that plagued the South Korean pork sector in 2010-2011. Shipments of U.S. pork to Canada were almost 2 percent lower than in 2012, likely due to slightly lower Canadian exports of muscle cuts, that increased domestic availability, but probably due more to the 10.3- percent depreciation of the Canadian dollar, making U.S. products more expensive in Canada. Mexico was a significant bright spot for U.S. pork exports in 2013. Shipments increased almost 7 percent compared with 2012, raising Mexico’s share of total U.S. exports to 25 percent. The likely reasons for increased shipments to Mexico include an improving economy and competitive prices of U.S. pork products relative to beef and poultry. The top 10 foreign destinations of U.S. pork exports in 2013 are listed below.

The United States is expected to export 5.14 billion pounds of pork products in 2014, an increase of almost 3 percent from 2013.

Source: USDA

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