8 January 2021 – The global swine herd plunged by 12.5% in the year to September 2019, according to livestock data released in December by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The data indicates that the global chicken population increased by 2.0% over the same period.
The fall in the global swine herd was mainly driven by events in China, where an epidemic of African Swine Fever (ASF) gathered pace from the initial outbreak in mid-2018, resulting in the destruction of more than 50% of the swine herd by the end of 2019, according to Rabobank. The disease went on to have a severe impact in other Asian countries, with Vietnam being hit particularly hard.
According to the FAO data, substantial increases in chicken production were recorded in Pakistan and Vietnam. The latter reflects the trend for pork producers to shift to poultry where possible as a result of ASF. Several major EU countries were not included in the population data for the year to September 2019, meaning that the indicated global uptick of 2.0% is likely to understate the actual increase.
Moderate increases of 1.1% and 1.7% were recorded for the global cattle and sheep herds, respectively.