February 22, 2018
China Animal Health Update (February 2018)
By LI AN-MING and NGOH SENG KEONG
An eFeedLink Exclusive
In the first half of February, China was preparing for the Chinese New Year celebration, which stretches over the second half of the month. However, despite festive stimulation, livestock markets remained weak. It is estimated that the post-holiday markets will continue to decline.
Farmers were on high alert as the infection rates of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) usually surge during winter. In particular, the disease frequently spreads during hog sales; hence hog farms took great heed to isolate hogs for sale from those not ready for release. Worth noting, disinfection of rearing grounds is generally more effective than vaccine injections for FMD.
Another major concern of hog farmers is the typical rise in miscarriage rates among sows due to the cold climates. From past experience, it is usually more effective to start with the prevention and control of swine fever and blue ear disease, to monitor the subtypes of the virus, to choose the appropriate products, and to strengthen the immune system of the animals. These measures will help to eradicate the problems at their roots.
In the first two weeks of February, just before the long Chinese New Year break, hog prices humbled 8% as farmers released animals in panic, fearing that the post-festive market would be worse. Farming returns shrank prominently as a result.
Egg prices consolidated lower during the pre-festive period. As most buyers will limit purchases with stocks ample, the market is poised to weaken further after the long break.
With supplies abundant and demand weak, AA broiler prices plummeted 10% while those of fast-growth native species dipped 5%. Nevertheless, broiler chick prices surged tremendously, as low conceiving rates during winter limited chick production while the need to rebuild depleted pens was strong.
As usual, the infliction rates of respiratory diseases surged during winter, a persistent problem that could not be resolved. Other than keeping a healthy environment, strengthening the immunity of the chickens is the most fundamental measure.
Compared to the advanced countries in Europe and the US, China lags behind in the aspect of disease sanitisation. There is partial success in sanitising poultry leukemia over the past few years under the concerted efforts of veterinarians. However, mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG) infection, which is the greatest challenge, remains widespread. Despite low direct mortality rates due to the disease, it increases the probability of other bacterial infections among inflicted chickens, hence lowering the productivity of farms.
While most people are rightly concerned about the bird flu disease, the issue of chicken salmonella infection is far more impactful as it involves food safety issues. However, not many are aware of this problem yet.
The No.1 Central Document for 2018 was released February 4. Contents concerning the agriculture and husbandry sectors are as follows:
1. To strengthen the prevention and control of agricultural pollution; to take actions to develop green agriculture; to promote livestock and poultry waste management; to promote eco-industrial models; to promote the organic connection of small farms and modern husbandry enterprises.
2. To build a high-standard national breeding stock base.
3. To improve the structure of animal farming workers.
4. To enhance the animal disease prevention and control system.
5. To implement food safety strategy and improve the traceability systems of agricultural product quality and safety.
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