May 22, 2018
China Animal Health Update (May 2018)
By An-ming LI and Ngai Meng CHAN
An eFeedLink Exclusive
Temperatures in May this year reached record highs, with the country entering an early summer. Farms are preparing for summer. Although market prospects for the livestock sector are generally bleak, supplies have not contracted significantly, and prices are expected to remain at a low level.
Recent swine prices adjusted slightly. With swine supply being sufficient, prices lacked momentum. For producers, as feed prices were down, production costs fell, with losses at about RMB300 per head being typical. With producers reluctant to restock, piglet prices continued to fall, and it is expected that the current price cycle would continue.
In terms of disease, work to boost swine immunity against swine fever is still solid, but blue-ear disease should not be overlooked. In addition, after early summer, bacterial diseases are more active, with streptococcal and erysipelas infections reported on farm, and E. coli associated piglet diarrhoea were also reported on several farms with various levels of severity. With controlling the use of antibiotics being the current trend, to deal with bacterial diseases, there is an urgent need to develop new alternatives.
Price movements for poultry products in May were mixed.
In particular, egg prices continued to remain stable, with prices in Shandong and Hebei provinces at RMB6.75 per kilogram. While receiving inventory was easy, the ease of clearing inventory was typical, and egg prices are expected to remain stable.
Prices for white-feather broilers rose recently, with average prices in Shandong and Jiangsu provinces at RMB8.05 per kilogram. It is expected that prices would stabilise after some volatility.
In terms of disease, summer characteristics were noted. Prevention of coccidiosis in broilers is a key priority, while E. coli and mycoplasma infections were harder to get rid of. Only through improving the housing environment, and increasing bird immunity, can the reliance on drug use be reduced.
3. Government policies
According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, in 2017, 97.46% of veterinary drug products passed sampling tests, and over a five-year period, about 99.7% of animal food products passed tests for drug residues. However, antimicrobial resistance attributed to animals remained a challenge, and that for zoonoses had increased, impacting food safety and public health. The Ministry had previously issued a notice that medicated feed additives would be completely banned by 2020, and at the same time, announced pilot work to reduce the use of veterinary drugs from 2018-2021, introducing a detailed timetable to reduce or limit drug use at the producer end. Clearly, the trend to eliminate drug use in the feed sector, and reduce or eliminate drug use in the livestock sector, would have far-reaching impacts on both sectors.
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