Heat causing stroke, weight loss in pigs

Bella Cariaso - The Philippine Star
Heat causing stroke, weight loss in pigs
From an average of 115 to 120 kilos, pigs’ weight went down to 90 to 100 kilos, the group’s vice chair Alfred Ng said in an interview.
Cesar Ramirez

MANILA, Philippines — Pigs are suffering from heat stroke and weight reduction amid the high heat index nationwide caused by El Niño, according to the National Federation of Hog Farmers Inc.

From an average of 115 to 120 kilos, pigs’ weight went down to 90 to 100 kilos, the group’s vice chair Alfred Ng said in an interview.

“The El Niño has created excessive heat. This is the first time that we experienced this kind of heat index. The performance of the pigs dropped,” Ng said.

Hog farmers are forced to sell pigs despite their lower weight due to high feed costs, he added.

“Even when you feed them, the pigs don’t eat much because of the high heat index and they do not grow,” he explained.

Pigs have also died due to heat stroke, he noted.

“Mainly because if they do not eat, their immune system is compromised. They suffered secondary infections, bacterial infections,” he said.

Ng did not disclose the percentage of pigs affected by extreme heat but said it can be managed.

The retail price of pork should not exceed P360 per kilo as the Department of Agriculture reported that pork belly was sold for as high as P420 per kilo, Ng maintained.

“The farmgate price is around P200 to P205 per kilo and normally traders will add P120 (per kilo) for the additional cost so it (retail price of pork belly) should only be between P320 and P340 per kilo. We do not know why it increased that much in the market. The problem is in the middle,” he said.

Ng gave assurance that there is enough local supply of pork, with hog production expected to increase between 10 and 15 percent this year.

As for African swine fever cases in Luzon, no increase has been recorded, Ng said.

Hog farmers are involved in repopulation efforts, he noted.

“They are trying to increase the repopulation. It is only being hampered by the high heat index,” he added.

In a speech delivered by Agriculture Undersecretary for livestock Deogracias Victor Savellano, Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. acknowledged the vital role of the livestock sector in driving economic growth, ensuring food security and supporting the livelihoods of millions of farmers.

“However, the traditional methods of livestock farming are being challenged by various factors such as climate change, resource scarcity and growing global demand,” Laurel said during the three-day Livestock Philippines and Aquaculture Philippines 2024 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.

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