Dispatches from IPPE 2015

PEDv risk, hog producer profitability and AGP removal: how will US pig sector trends play out for the feed sector?

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Pork

IPPE attendees heard about the latest findings into the links between feed and porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus, the prospects for the US swine sector over the next 12 months and the impact of the removal of antibiotic growth promoters (AGPs) in that market.

FeedNavigator caught up with Dr Paul Sundberg, VP of science and technology at the National Pork Board, along with Will Sawyer, VP of the Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory division at Rabobank International and Richard Sellers, senior VP of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs at the American Feed Industry Association (AIFA), to hear how the US pig sector is faring. 

The National Pork Board has been funding a glut of feed related studies in its bid to get to the root causes of PEDv transmission in US herds.

Having ruled out any risk associated with feed ingredients, their handling or their processing as possible transmission vehicles for PEDv, Dr Sundberg says the focus of research now is in the evaluation of the effectiveness of various mitigation strategies on post-processing contamination of the virus in feed and feed components. 

Producer profitability

Rabobank’s Will Sawyer says there is less of a risk of a PEDv outbreak this year in the US. “Cases so far this winter have been around half that of this time last year.”​ 

And he says smaller hog weights but bigger herd sizes overall should ensure good supply growth and profitability for producers in the US this year, with a knock-on benefit for the feed sector in terms of higher consumption levels. 

We see an average producer margin of $10 per head in 2015. That does not sound like much when you compare it to the $51 per head average price of last year, but it is still way above the under $3 per head 10 year producer average,”​ said Sawyer. 

Antibiotic scenario

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued guidelines for industry to voluntarily withdraw medically important antibiotics from growth promotion. 

When asked about what the move might mean for the future use of antibiotics in US pork production, AIFA’s Sellers says that, potentially, we could see an increase in the quantity of therapeutic antibiotics used in the swine segment, a trend reported in Denmark soon after the ban on AGPs there.   

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