April 18, 2019

China Animal Health Update (April 2019)By An-ming LI and Ngai Meng CHAN

An eFeedLink Exclusive

Entering April, along with the rising temperatures and increased rainfall, China's livestock industry had completely shaken off production problems associated with cold temperatures. There were reduced incidences of disease and feeding management went smoothly. Although pressure on disease prevention was strong, market sentiment was robust and stock replenishments were at a high level.

1. Swine

Recently, swine prices were generally steady. However, the tense market supply situation became more pronounced and slaughter companies were finding it hard to make purchases. Pork demand had not increased significantly, and sales pressure was relatively high. April also saw the start of the inspection of the national pork inventory.

In terms of African swine fever (ASF), its prevention and control measures also help reduce the incidences and development of blue-ear disease and epidemic diarrhoea. In the first half of April, ASF outbreaks were consecutively reported in Xinjiang, Yunnan and Tibet, and the disease was also spreading in Vietnam and Cambodia. It could be said that the disease situation is becoming more severe.

It has been nearly 60 years since research into ASF began in the 1960s, but little progress has been made in terms of disease-control applications. Worldwide, there are currently 15 research institutions in eight countries that conduct ASF research. In October 2010, Zoetis obtained exclusive rights to the patent for gene-deleted attenuated vaccine technology for ASF from the University of Connecticut. In January 2019, China launched a research project to develop gene-deleted attenuated vaccine technology. Recently, Spanish research made a development breakthrough for oral vaccination against ASF Genotype II, which is also the strain found in China. As disease elimination is unlikely given the status quo, vaccine use appears to be a viable option.

2. Poultry

In April, production and sales in the broiler and layer sectors generally continued on the trend in March. With spring being the peak production season, the egg market strengthened slightly. Egg supplies were sufficient and prices are unlikely to rise.

For broilers, prices were firm. The influence of the ASF situation on the broiler sector was prominent – broiler inventory tightened slightly, supporting future price increase.

With the warm conditions in spring being conducive for ventilation, flock immunity is high, incidences of respiratory diseases are significantly reduced together with drug use, and liveability is increased. According to latest research, the gradual implementation of caged broiler production can effectively control E. coli and coccidia infections, with an expected return on investment.

3. Government policies

On March 18, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs issued "Notice on strengthening ASF detection at the slaughter stage", requiring all localities to organise a thorough clean-up of slaughter facilities by May 1, and prohibiting the market entry of substandard pork products, to break the chain of ASF disease transmission.

On April 3, the Ministry announced that ASF detection would commence in the processing stage by May 1.

On April 4, the Ministry issued "Notice on the management of records of feed additive premixes and feed additives for use in premixes", amending the requirement for product approval to a filing requirement. This followed the State Council's amendments of relevant licencing requirements in March.