March 15, 2021


Brazil's 2021 pig numbers to rise only 2% due to higher production costs


A 2% increase in Brazil's pig numbers is expected in 2021 due to increased costs of production caused by higher animal feed costs, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.


The forecast considers increased export demand, especially to China, and a forecast 3% growth in domestic consumption, a result of the high prices for beef, the preferred source of protein for Brazilians. Domestic pork consumption is expected to represent 15% of total domestic meat consumption.


Pork production is expected to grow 3% in 2021, reaching 4.25 million tonnes in carcass weight equivalent (CWE), and a 4% increase in pork exports is expected in 2021. Productivity is anticipated to stay virtually the same as the 2020 estimate of 96 kilogrammes CWE per slaughtered pig.


In 2020, Brazilian pork exports rose 36% in volume terms and surpassed one million tonnes for the first time in Brazil's history. From this record export volume, China accounted for a little over half of total pork shipments. Market analysts in Brazil believe demand from Asia for pork and poultry will remain strong in 2021.


EMBRAPA's (Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation's) index for swine production costs, called ICPSuínos, shows that nutrition (feed) costs increased a cumulative 42.05% in 2020 in Santa Catarina, Brazil's top producing swine state.

Swine producers saw their total cost of production increase a cumulative 47.28% in the year, mainly due to the cost of animal feed. The costs of production are forecast to be near the same levels of 2020.


Brazil exports both live animals for slaughter as well as for purebred breeding for genetic improvement.


From the traditional markets where Brazil exports live swine, Argentina corresponds to 73.7% of all exports in the past six years.


In 2020, there was a significant decrease in Argentina's imports of live swine, which USDA believes was likely a consequence of the pandemic.