Behind the hulking industrial compound in rural China, top pig producer Muyuan Foods is trying to raise more hogs on a single site than any company in the world – a risky investment with deadly African swine fever lingering.
The new farm, which began construction in March and started operations at the first of its 21 buildings in September, epitomizes the breakneck pace at which industrialized hog breeding facilities are replacing small, traditional farms, many of which were wiped out by the worst animal disease outbreak in recent history.
The shift, under way for years, has accelerated sharply, fueled by huge profits at corporate producers since African swine fever ravaged the country’s herd and sent pig prices soaring to double the previous record.
Corporate farms weren’t spared by the epidemic, but as prices jumped, they quickly recouped their losses. Muyuan’s profits grew 1,400 percent in the first nine months to 3.2 billion dollars.