How Does Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Affect The Pork Supply

April 24, 2014 Tobit Hog Care And Information

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea

Pigs In Pasture

The Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea is a virus that a lot of people outside of the farming community may have never heard about before. However, this is a virus that has the potential to dramatically affect the price of pork and even the available supply just as the summer grilling season is getting ready to take affect. The problem is most of the general public does not know what this disease is or how it is affecting the supply of pork for the American public and how people can easily find great pork at a reasonable price with the local farmers.

What Is Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea?

This is a great question and one which a lot of people are probably asking since they have never heard of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea before. This is because the disease is not well known, but the price of food has went up and often this leaves people to trying to figure out more about what is causing the food cost to go up.

As the name already states this is a form of diarrhea. However, what this diarrhea does is affects the pigs in large and small herds who are considered part of the pork production that so many people have come to rely on in the United States. The mechanism of the virus is it attacks the vili in the gut, which prevents the pigs from being able to absorb as much food as they normally would or even liquids they need to absorb. This quickly will lead to dehydration in the pigs and in the younger piglets often leads to the pigs dying. In the older sows the pigs are typically able to combat the virus and any secondary infection with antibiotics.

Some other good news with the disease is it is starting to be controlled somewhat. However, this is only coming from the exposure of the herd to the disease in the first place. Typically the immunity is coming from the sows, who have been exposed and lived through the disease developing colostrum that is going to contain the antibodies that are needed to keep the piglets safe from the disease.

If none of the sows have been immunized for this disease before, the entire herd can become sick from the disease. However, because of these being adult sows they are typically going to only have a mild case of diarrhea, which for most farms is easy to handle. So this is typically easy for the farms to deal with, but with most of the major farms that are raising pigs for meat in the modern world the first round of the porcine epidemic may not be infected the first time. Since this is the case, it generally leads to a later outbreak as the sows who did not get infected the first time are exposed to the disease a second time.



How Is Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Affecting The Supply

Now here is the bread and butter of this post. With this disease it is affecting a lot of the pork herds in America, yes in America, this disease is already present in Europe and is being dealt with. With the disease here, farmers are starting to see the price of pork increase. In fact, according to, there has been reports of 7 million pigs are infected with this disease. This does not sound like it is a lot of pigs, but you need to realize that this really is quite a few pigs for the production farms and is easily driving up the price because of the supply and demand.

Reports have already surfaced that the slaughter of pigs is going to be down 10 to 15 percent in June and July. This is not that dramatic in most cases, but what is a problem is this is going to happen in the middle of the summer grilling season. So this is going to put the demand at some of the peak levels that come around each year, but the supply is also going to be some of the lowest the United States has seen in quite a while.

As with anything when the demand is high and the supply is low the price is going to sky rocket. This is already seen on the market prices for the wholesale market. According to the price of pork in December of 2013, before the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea became a major issue was 78.57 cents per pound. So this is a relatively inexpensive meat, which is something a lot of people like. However, on the same page the futures have a price of 113.21 per pound in March of 2014. So it is easy to see the price is already starting to skyrocket and this will lead to the store cost of pork going up, which I have already seen happening. So you can imagine what is going to happen as more of the pork is affected by this disease and the supply is low while the demand raises.

How To Avoid The Cost Increase

While the cost increase is pretty much unavoidable when you are shopping at the store, this is a great time to start shopping at your local farmers market or farm. When you shop at either one of these locations you will find most of the farmers are smaller in nature and typically do not have the herds that number in the hundreds. With these smaller herds, they are better able to manage their pigs to make sure they are not affected by the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea problem. So you are not going to be taking a hit because the supply is low and the demand is high. Not only that you will be introducing your palate to some of the best pork you can ever eat.

For more information on how the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus is affecting the price of pork make sure you watch this short YouTube news video.



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