April 13, 2021


China's feed grain demand expected to increase as ASF threat subsides


China's hog and sow populations have started to grow again in March, according to new data, and this could signal heightened demand for feed grains in coming months, Gro Intelligence reported on April 9.


It is a sign that China appears to have brought under control a winter resurgence in African swine fever (ASF).


Based on a survey of major hog producers, Gro Intelligence's data shows that China's hog herd grew 1.06% in March from the previous month, while the sow population expanded 1.96%. That follows declines in herd size in both January and February, as colder temperatures stoked ASF infection rate, especially in northern provinces. Renewed growth in China's hog population has pushed down the price of live hogs by 36% from a recent peak in January.


Gro Intelligence continues to expect a full recovery of China's hog herd in the second half of 2021, after ASF wiped out roughly half of the country's hog population in 2018-19. China is a key driver of global pork, grain and oilseed demand, and Gro Intelligence's machine-learning-based China Pork Demand Forecast Model provides a leading indicator of pork demand and, hence, prices of hogs, grains and oilseeds for the coming year.


The hog herd recovery, along with increased industrialisation of the hog industry, was the main driver of China's record grain imports in 2020, including 4.3 million tonnes of US corn.


New crop plantings in the United States will be critical to satisfy any future growth in China's feed demand, Gro Intelligence said.


However, a recent USDA report shows farmer planting intentions are for fewer corn and soy acres than the market had expected and, therefore, ideal weather conditions will be needed to replenish currently tight supplies.


- Gro Intelligence