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Animal Health

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March 20, 2018

China Animal Health Update (March 2018)
By An-ming LI and Ngai Meng CHAN
An eFeedLink Exclusive

Since March, the difficulty in maintaining a good balance between insulation and ventilation in the housing environment for poultry and swine is easing. However, with temperature differences between day and night being large, cough and diarrhoea were common symptoms.

With production volumes being relatively large, and supplies being sufficient, the markets for eggs and swine remained relatively weak.

1. Swine

The post-Spring Festival blues was marked by saturation, with swine prices continuing their fall. And with no recent boost in consumption, the poor market condition is unlikely to change. With current prices hovering around their break-even point, the importance of maintaining a suitable production level is further evident, and producers are advised to maintain their usual slaughter rates to prevent slaughterhouses from forcing prices down on the pretext of heavy slaughter weights.

Temperature fluctuations are rainfall are strong during the spring season. In general, the risks posed by epidemic diarrhoea and foot-and-mouth fall during this season. However, the threats of mycoplasma, blue ear disease and swine fever rise. Accordingly, a rigorous, systemic approach towards disease prevention should be undertaken.

2. Poultry

Post-Spring Festival, layer production reached its peak. Egg production continued to rise, but with downstream demand remaining lacklustre, egg prices remained weak.

For broilers, as producers had cleared their stocks for the Spring Festival, slaughter rates were low post-holiday, which provided some support to prices. As market broilers are gradually sent to slaughter, prices should stabilise to a new level, helped by the fact that most white-feather broiler production is supported by contract farming.

Since the beginning of March, the poultry population remained stable. The rising temperature and prolonged sunshine are beneficial to growth, egg production and bird immunity. In addition, the reduction in feed conversion ratio and disease occurrence cut production costs. However, during the spring season, various pathogens and parasites also proliferate faster, microbial contamination of feed occurs more easily, and infection pressure on birds rises. Particularly for broilers which are fed off the ground, the prevention of coccidiosis is a topmost priority. For prevention of Newcastle disease and infectious bursal disease, even proper vaccination may not guarantee success, and biosecurity measures such as isolation and disinfection should be regarded as the root solution.

3. Government policies

In the Ministry of Agriculture's "Key points for veterinary work in 2018":

     i.        Further advancing animal disease eradication

    ii.        Strengthening the prevention of zoonotic diseases

   iii.        Comprehensively preventing and controlling major animal diseases such as H7N9

   iv.        Preventing the entry of foreign animal diseases such as African swine fever

    v.        Strengthening the supervision of the quality and safety of veterinary drugs

   vi.        Carrying out holistic treatment programmes with use of antimicrobials

  vii.        Adjusting policies relating to foot-and-mouth immunisation, with each province carrying out immunisation of swine against type A foot-and-mouth disease based on their individual assessments
The Ministry of Agriculture intends to carry out traceability management of veterinary drugs, with the resolution of eliminating drugs which carry safety risks, and step up monitoring for drug residues and resistance, with the aim of ensuring food safety.

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