As we reported last week, South Korea confirmed a foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak for the first time in more than three years. In response to that incident, authorities culled 600 animals from a 1,500-head hog farm located in North Gyeongsang province.
On Monday, July 28, an additional FMD case was detected. This case was also in North Gyeongsang province, but about 40 miles from the previous location. While Korean veterinary officials continue to downplay the possibility of the disease spreading further, the distance between the two incidents heightened these concerns to some degree. In May of this year, Korea was recognized as having FMD-free-with-vaccination status by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
USMEF-Korea reports that while pork processors and other major buyers are monitoring the situation carefully, the market remains calm – with hog prices edging higher on Monday but then moderating later in the week. Last week’s prices ($2.11/lb, carcass weight) were down 22 percent from mid-June and only slightly higher than the July 2013 average (in Korean won terms).
Korea’s hog slaughter in the first half of 2014 was down just 2 percent from last year’s pace, but a larger decline of 4 to 5 percent is projected for the second half due to porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV).