Last week Canadian veterinary officials announced the country’s first two cases of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) – one at a hog farm in southern Ontario near the city of London, and another at the unloading dock of an Olymel processing plant in Quebec.
On Jan. 29, the provincial government of Ontario announced that PEDv had spread to three more farms in the province, despite the hog industry’s efforts to stop it by disinfecting delivery trucks and clothing used on hog farms.
Based on the United States’ experience with PEDv over the past year, USMEF expects very little impact on pork trade or market access for Canadian pork. If the disease continues to spread in Canada, however, it could heighten concerns about the North American hog supply.
While the weak Canadian dollar has been supportive of Canada’s pork exports, this trend has not extended to the live hog trade. U.S. imports of live Canadian hogs were down 10 percent last year to 5.05 million head, including a 12 percent drop in feeders to 4.14 million. Through Jan. 18, this year’s imports are 27 percent below the 2013 pace at 218,804 head. Canada’s hog slaughter is also off to a slow start this year (1.12 million head through Jan. 18, -1.6 percent).
Both the U.S. and Canada were expected to begin a slow herd expansion driven in part by lower feed prices, but PEDv brings a lot of uncertainty to North America’s pork production outlook. A weekly report issued Wednesday by the USDA-APHIS National Animal Health Laboratory Network said the number of U.S. cases jumped by 215 this week, the largest weekly increase since PEDv was first detected in the United States in April of last year. This pushed the total number of confirmed U.S. cases to 2,692, spanning 23 states.