Spencer, IA: (Jan. 14, 2014) – The Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) is roiling the U.S. pork industry, boosting prices in the $9-billion hog futures market.
The PED virus appeared in the U.S. for the first time in April and has killed thousands of piglets since then. The disease, which has spread to farms in 22 states, is cutting into pork supplies and prompting some traders to wager that hog prices could set records this year. Lean hog futures rose to a seven-week high a week ago and are up 6% since mid-December.
The PED virus is fatal only to young pigs and poses no threat to human health or food safety. Still, once a farrowing barn is hit, piglet mortality approaches 100 percent. To ward off the disease, hog producers are re-doubling their bio-security measures. But many find the disease difficult to prevent.
Hitch Pork Producers in Guyman, Oklahoma, lost 30,000 piglets last year in just six weeks. General Manager Mike Brandherm says, “This is the toughest disease we’ve ever gone through. It was stunning how fast it spread. You (just) feel helpless.”