A fix for China’s pork shortage could be straightforward: Raise the biggest pigs possible.
As Bloomberg reports, one farmer in the Guangxi province has produced a 1.1k-pound animal… meaning this little piggy grew to polar-bear proportions.
China’s got a pig problem
China is the world’s biggest pork consumer, consuming about 60m tons of swine each year — as much as the rest of the world combined.
After an African swine flu epidemic forced Chinese farmers to cull between 250m and 300m hogs — about half of the country’s pig population — wholesale pork prices shot up 70%.
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China now faces a pork shortage of some 10m tons. So in addition to China tapping into its strategic swine reserves, the pressure is on to pump up production.
Bigger pigs make up for smaller numbers
Although the porcine giant in Guangxi is an anomaly, big pigs are a big trend — especially on smaller farms. With sow prices now at a premium, smaller operations often can’t afford to replace all of their breeding stock.
Unable to produce more pigs, they produce bigger pigs. In the Jilin province, farmers are aiming for average weights of 385 to 400 pounds — up from the relatively svelte normal weight of 275 pounds.
Even China’s biggest producers say they are trying to increase the size of their hogs. The average weight of pigs at slaughter for these farms has climbed from 240 pounds to 310 pounds. The extra girth could help these farmers see profits climb by more than 30%.