April 6, 2023


Raising pigs on multi-level buildings: The future of China's pig production?


An eFeedLink Hot Topic


The first 138 pigs produced by Zhongxin Kaiwei Modern Animal Husbandry at its 26-story high-rise pig farm were released last December.


These were supposedly the first batch of pigs produced at the world's tallest and largest, highly automated pig breeding farm of its kind.


The ¥4 billion site, which is known as a ‘flatted' farm, occupies 800,000 square metres (with two 26-story buildings constructed) and is located in Ezhou, Hubei. When the buildings enter full operation, the farm can produce 1.2 million pigs annually.


Despite the market downturn over the past two years, major pig producers' intent to build flatted farms has not waned. In fact, it is estimated that the growth rate of these farms could exceed 30% yearly.


For instance, Hunan Longhua Agriculture and Animal Husbandry Development invested ¥2.5 billion in 2021 to build an intelligent flatted pig farm with the capacity to produce 1.3 million pigs annually. As early as 2020, Muyuan commenced the construction of its first flatted pig farm in Neixiang, Henan. Additionally, New Hope Liuhe built more than 10 flatted farms in parts of China including Shandong, Hebei and Zhejiang, as it planned a capacity of 80,000 breeders and 240,000 fattening pigs.


Flatted pig farming in China started around 2010 and was initially concentrated in the mountainous Fujian province. Around 2017, two influential breeding groups, Guangxi Yangxiang and Zhejiang Huatong, built two large-scale flatted pig farms, which attracted the attention of the pig breeding industry.


After inspecting those pig farms, China's Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs permitted the construction of flatted pig farms in 2019. From there, the construction of these farms gained momentum.


However, some large-scale pig producers think that raising pigs in flatted farms is not a simple substitution for the conventional means of production. Muyuan, for instance, revealed that as flatted pig farms are limited in production capacity, are more complex to be built and involve higher investment costs compared with traditional pig farms, the company's pig production will mainly depend on conventional farms.


However, even as construction costs are higher by 20%, some companies believe that slower depreciation and amortisation, a better farming environment, improved sow production efficiency and more reasonable labor costs could make a flatted pig farm a worthwhile investment, particularly in the mountainous regions of south China.


- David Lin, eFeedLink