Pig virus could cut U.S. output by 7 percent in 2014 -Rabobank

martes 6 de mayo de 2014 16:25 GYT

By Theopolis Waters

CHICAGO May 6 (Reuters) - A lethal pig virus sweeping across farms in the United States could cut pork production as much as 7 percent this year, a far steeper decline than the government has forecast, according to agribusiness research firm Rabobank.

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) has killed about 7 million baby pigs since it was detected a year ago in the United States, where the outbreak has been most severe. It has also appeared in Canada and parts of Asia.

The Rabobank research note estimated there would be a 6 percent to 7 percent drop in 2014 U.S. pork production tied to losses from the virus. The USDA had said PEDv could reduce output by 2 percent.

The United States is the world's largest pork exporter with 4.992 billion lbs shipped in 2013, down from a record 5.381 billion lbs the previous year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

On Tuesday, the European Union addressed worries that this virulent strain could make its way to Europe next, announcing new rules aimed at ensuring imported pig blood used in animal feed was free of the virus.

The USDA has only recently required producers to report the disease, making it hard to tally the official impact on the industry.

Tyson Foods Inc, the country's top meat packer, expects a decline of as much as 4 percent in U.S. pork production for the year, partially offset by heavier hog weights, it said on Monday.

On Monday, Tyson reported second-quarter pork sales rose about 13 percent to $1.49 billion, ignited by higher prices.   Continuación...