China’s top pig producer, Muyuan Foods, is building what it says is the world’s largest pig farm in an industrial compound near Nanyang, according to a report from Reuters.
The new farm, which began construction in March and started operations at the first of its 21 buildings in September, will eventually house 84,000 sows and their offspring, which will make it the largest in the world, roughly 10 times the size of a typical breeding facility in the United States.
It aims to produce around 2.1 million pigs a year, hoping to reduce purchases from the global market in a move that could upend a lucrative meat trade that has supported farmers across the world.
The farm is being built at ‘breaknack pace’, with the industrialised hog breeding facilities replacing small, traditional farms, many of which were wiped out by the outbreak of African Swine Fever, which saw China’s hog herd shrink by around half in 2019, causing an 11-million tonne pork shortfall that far exceeded global supplies.
Qin Jun, Muyuan’s vice general manager, told Reuters: “We have hit a very favourable period for development. Pig prices are very high, our profits are really good, and cash flow is really ample.”
Jun also said that the mega-farm would have an ‘experimental’ element, discussing plans to ‘employ fewer people and use more technology’.
With the huge facility able to house five times as many pigs as a regular farm on the same area, disease outbreak are a serious threat, but one which Jun said would be monitored by technology, including air filtering and thermal imaging cameras which are being trialled to check pigs’ body temperatures