August 14, 2019
China Animal Health Update (August 2019)
An eFeedLink Exclusive
By An-ming LI and Ngai Meng CHAN
August is the hottest month of the year. All cooling facilities are operating at their maximum load, housing density is reduced, livestock production is met with difficulties, mortality is increased, and production costs are at a high level.
Although pork consumption is generally weak in August, prices rose significantly. Across the country, average live pig prices broke RMB20 per kilogram; in the provinces of Guangdong, Hunan and Jiangxi, prices even reached about RMB25 per kilo. These were due to the tight supply of live pigs. Slaughter companies were finding it hard to make purchases. Particularly in southern China, wholesalers and retailers in small towns were running out of pork stocks, and the trend of pork deliveries from northern China is increasing. It is expected that the tense supply situation would unlikely ease in the short term, and live pig prices should continue to rise. Various provinces reported huge falls in their swine inventories, with producers less enthusiastic to replenish stocks due to the concern of African swine fever (ASF). To date, proper disinfection and isolation is still one of the most effective ways to counter ASF. Many claims made at conferences are only theoretical, and there is no magic bullet. Producers are advised to exercise prudence in evaluating the claims.
In August, prices of major poultry products across the country were relatively stable, with the egg market stabilising after rising in July. However, with the approach of autumn, consumer demand is gradually increasing, and it is expected that in the short term, egg prices would be moderately strong going forward. For the broiler sector, with high temperatures limiting productivity, bird inventory of suitable weight was somewhat reduced, and release rates were at a relatively low level. The ASF situation continues to lead to broiler meat substituting for pork shortfall. And as temperatures fall with the approach of autumn, broiler meat demand should gradually strengthen, and prices are expected to adjust and remain strong in the short term.
Poultry diseases are related to the high temperatures. Flock immunity is low and panting and diarrhoea are common symptoms. Also, vaccines easily lose their efficacies under the high temperatures. Cocciodiosis, leucocytozoonosis and fowl pox have high incidences during this period. Practice has shown that raising air conditioning capacity in the poultry house, and appropriately reducing housing density, are effective methods to deal with the high summer temperatures. Particularly when vaccine costs are currently at a high level, ensuring bird liveability is a top priority.
3. Government policies
On August 7, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs issued Announcement No. 201, releasing the country's first list of 3,436 pig slaughtering companies. From January 1, 2020, companies which are not associated with the electronic quarantine certification system would not be able to obtain a quarantine certificate for their products.
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