Pork Commentary

Jim Long, President-CEO Genesus Inc.

Oct. 17, 2016

Observations on Russia and China


The current hog price in Russia is 111 rubles per kilogram or $0.80 USD/lb liveweight. Profits per head should be $60 USD.

Russia is on a quest to be self-sufficient in pork. They also wish to begin exporting to China large volumes of pork.

To maximise the exportation of pork, African Swine Fever Disease (ASF) must be stopped. There are still ASF outbreaks happening with some large scale operations. When this happens, all pigs are killed. The Russian government announced recently their desire to eliminate the disease. This is a difficult and challenging job which could lead to strict rules on how pigs are raised, meaning backyard pigs could eventually be eliminated. Backyard pigs are still a major contributor to Russian pork production tonnage.  Their elimination through government imposed pig raising rules could delay Russia’s timeline to self-sufficiency.

We believe that there is currently an estimated 450,000 new sow spaces being built or seriously contemplated in Russia. These are privately being done by te largest producers.

The cost of establishing pig production is expensive in Russia. There is no contracting of production. Consequently, all facilities are built by the producers, including swine inventory, all swine buildings, feed mills, and even packing plants. This takes a lot of capital. Our estimate of this cost is $13,000 per sow (ie. 50,000 sows equals $650 million USD). This is a huge investment that only large enterprises can undertake to acquire the necessary capital.

The Russian pork industry has benefited recently from the sanctions that have kept European and North American pork from being imported. The main source of Russian imported pork is Brazil, which has sent 159,300 tons to Russia from January – August (up 4% year to date).

Russian swine producers are currently benefitting from plentiful feed availability due to Russia having its largest grain harvest on record.


The swine industry has gained much in technical and business acumen over the last ten years. It is now a sophisticated and knowledgeable industry. New packing capacity of approximately 6 million hogs a year is either under construction or in the works.

We see Russia continuing to expand. Most of the production will end up in the hands of a few companies. Profitability always increases production and Russia continues to be profitable. The large amounts of capital needed due to no contract production slows down expansion.

Our take home message to our North American and European readers: Don’t build a business plan on sending pigs or pork to Russia. Russia will look after itself.


China has enjoyed very profitable prices for the past year. The current hog price is 17.94 CNY/kg liveweight or $1.31 USD/lb liveweight. Most producers should be making $100 USD per head. Recently, it was as high as $150 USD per head. All these high prices are due to the liquidation of the Chinese sow herd resulting from the financial losses of up to $80 per head 2-3 years ago. There is a hog cycle in China too!  

Other Observations

Liquidation of sow herd was not only triggered by financial losses, but from the migration of rural people to urban areas. It is estimated that 20 million rural Chinese are moving to cities yearly, the largest migration in the history of the world. Many migrants had small farms. They had small farms and they had pigs, and when they go to the city, they go out of pig production forever.

In China, there is expansion. When we see a list of potential expansions by major producers, it amounts to 44.5 million hogs. That’s almost half of U.S. production.

Below is a list compiled by Hu Song of CSEA:
Company New farm size (output, heads) Location
Wens Group 300,000 Shehong, Sichuan
200,000 Nanchong, Sichuan
120,000 Cangxi, Sichuan
400,000 Fuquan, Guizhou
400,000 Yuqing, Guizhou
600,000 Bozhou, Guizhou
2,000,000 Cangzhou, Hebei
500,000 Laiwu, Shandong
1,000,000 Laiwu, Shandong
500,000 Liaocheng, Shandong
500,000 Daoxian, Hunan
500,000 Dongan, Hunan
500,000 Qixian, Shanxi
3,000,000 Jinzhou, Liaoning
600,000 Chaoyang, Liaoning
600,000 Chifeng, Liaoning
800,000 Zhanyi, Yunnan
3,000,000 Honghe, Yunnan
5,000,000 Qujing, Yunnan
600,000 Lingbao, Henan
New Hope 200,000 Yilong, Sichuan
  2,000,000 Liaoning
Muyuan 550,000 Tongxu, Henan
  2,000,000 Dali, Shaanxi
COFCO 1,000,000 Yongcheng, Henan
Tech-bank 5,000,000 Henshui, Hebei and Dezhou, Shandong
  600,000 Suixi, Anhui
  1,000,000 Yilong, Sichuan
DBN 600,000 Qiangan, Jilin
DBN & Runmin Group 8,000,000 Fujian
Tecon 1,000,000 Xinjiang
Yangxiang 1,000,000 Tianyang, Guangxi
Shanghai Pig Producers Association 500,000 Qianjiang,Chongqing
Total 44,570,000  

Like all plans, some will come to fruition, but some will not.

There is no doubt China is a huge consumer of pork. As incomes rise in China, the question is whether consumers will eat more pork. If they do, the sheer number of 1.4 billion people eating more pork is a huge amount. 1kg more on 1.4 billion people would be double Canada’s total pork consumption.

You need to look no further than China’s WH Group that owns Smithfield Food. It appears their strategy is to produce pork in USA, Mexico, Poland, and Romania, and export the pork to China. At this point, China’s WH Group does not look like its scheme is to produce pork in China. They are betting big time that China will need imported pork for a long time.

Other issues facing the Chinese industry is the disease exposure that leads to increased swine mortality. From our experience, China has more health challenges than any other country we work in. This limits production and increases cost. There is no simple solution for this dilemma.

New environmental regulations are tightening significantly. There are new rules for manure disposal. It is increasingly more difficult to get permits to build new barns. This will slow the rebound expansion.


$100 USD per head profits is leading to herd expansion in China. We get concerned when we hear in our travels that expansion of swine production and packing plants is to supply China’s market. It might work. The wild card is what China’s consumption will be? And what is China’s own pork production going to be? We are not smart enough to know either answer. The only thing we can say is let’s hope China keeps eating lots of pork.


Genesus Press Announcement


Genesus is pleased to announce the appointment of Helena Echberg as its new Director of Business Development.

Born in Denmark, Helena has been involved in the swine industry throughout her entire life. After graduating from the Aarhus University of Business in 1994, Helena started her career in international swine equipment sales.

In 1997, Helena moved to Quebec, Canada, where she still resides today. Through her own distribution channels, she has represented Danish swine equipment companies in North and South America for the past 20 years.

Helena brings a wealth of production expertise, international contacts, language skills, and leadership, all of which will contribute to Genesus’ global growth. Genesus is fortunate and excited to add Helena to the team.

Contact information


Phone: 450-770-2600

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