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December 26, 2018
 
China Animal Health Update (December 2018)

By An-ming LI and Ngai Meng CHAN
 
An eFeedLink Exclusive
 

Snow came especially early in 2018 in December, with a cold wave hitting the southern part of the country, and the north-eastern and north-western regions experiencing severe winter. The African swine fever (ASF) epidemic situation continued, and the swine market situation experienced regional differences. In winter, respiratory diseases increase in frequency, putting pressure on disease prevention and control.
 
1. Swine

With the arrival of winter solstice in December, pork consumption continued to rise. The production of cured meats in southern China led this growth in consumption, and the swine market was bullish. Although a strict ban has been lifted in some regions, cross-regional transportation of pigs remained restricted, and swine farms experienced difficulties in clearing their inventory. Swine prices varied greatly among regions; prices exceeded RMB20 per kilogram in some provinces such as Sichuan, while epidemic areas in the north and other provinces with high production capacities saw inventory backlogs. As the outlook for the epidemic situation remained uncertain, these regional market imbalances would continue into the short term.

As of December 15, China had reported 89 cases of ASF involving 22 provinces and cities. The pressure on epidemic prevention and control is huge, and the costs are high. If such level of prevention and control work is to continue, the status quo in the swine production industry would change dramatically.

2. Poultry

In December, prices of major poultry products were relatively stable. Prices of eggs rose while those of broilers and day-old chicks fluctuated.

The impact of the winter season on temperature and lighting conditions marked the end of the seasonal peak of egg production. In a southerly fashion, egg prices gradually increased.

The arrival of the year-end holiday season saw adjustments in broiler prices. These were impacted in part by ASF which lifted forecasts for consumption of poultry products, and slaughter rates which were significantly increased in preparation for the holiday season. It is expected that broiler prices would continue to fluctuate at a high level in January.

Recently, the disease situation for poultry has been relatively stable. However, it should be noted that insulation is often at the expense of ventilation during the winter season, leading to increased incidences of respiratory diseases and drug use. Improving housing conditions and increasing flock immunity is an effective approach towards antibiotic reduction.

3. Government policies

In a notification issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs on the ASF epidemic situation on December 4, although the epidemic situation continues, overall prevention and control is said to be effective. Outbreaks tend to be sporadic, instead of being widespread. Monitoring and investigative work is being deployed nationwide.

On December 11, a meeting on the topic of strengthening prevention and control of ASF was held. Chinese vice premier Hu Chunhua spoke at the meeting, reflecting the commitment that the central government has for the important issue of ASF.
 


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