Last updated: February 23. 2014 6:49PM - 1057 Views
Max Knowles Contributing columnist

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Headlines for the pork industry recently have centered on the spread of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv) and increased biosecurity efforts to try to contain a virus that just won’t quit. An estimated 4 million pigs have been lost due to PEDv in the United States since April of 2013. This has, of course, produced a shortage of hogs for processors, and the largest magnitudes of shortage are expected for the latter part of 2014. In response to this shortage, many producers have increased harvest weights to achieve more meat per animal sold.

Some good news has flickered recently in the battle again PEDv. Companies and universities all around the country are collaborating in research and development for tests and vaccines that are cost effective and viable against the virus. The University of Minnesota recently announced a breakthrough with the development of a swine herd surveillance test. This new test gives producers the ability to test a sow’s immunity to PEDv and whether or not her immunity is being passed to her pigs.

Some ag economists have proposed that 2014 could be the best year for the pork industry since 1990. According to Steve Meyer, president of Paragon Economics, “cost models are showing $27 to $28 profits per head this year”. In spite of the financial losses experienced from PEDv, economists cite lower corn prices and a good corn crop to boost the bottom line for producers. Exports from the US to Mexico increased in 2013 by 6.6 percent, which places them not far behind Japan. Rumors of a possible increase in exports to China have many optimistic as well.

As always, the NC Cooperative Extension Service is available to assist producers and families in any way possible. You can reach us at 910.592.7161. Direct links to sources can be found at http://sampson.ces.ncsu.edu/2014/02/porkupdate/

Sources: www.pork.org; www.agrinews.com

(Editor’s Note: Max Knowles is an Extension Agent with the Sampson County Cooperative Extension Service.)

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