May 15, 2019

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

An eFeedLink Exclusive

China's mild weather in May supports animals in their feeding, growth, reproduction and immune status. As the African swine fever (ASF) epidemic situation continues, swine production still faces difficulties.

1. Swine

In May, swine prices fluctuated at a low level, with a slight fall seen in demand after the Labour Day holiday. With large-scale inspections for ASF continuing at the slaughtering stage, including both self-inspections by slaughterhouses and official inspections, pressure on the release of pork stocks was relatively high, and purchase of live pigs fell. It is expected that small fluctuations in swine prices would continue. From mid to late May, as pork stocks gradually diminish, the issue of the lack in live pig supplies would become more obvious, considering that the significant decline in production capacity from sows is an objective truth. There is some promise that swine prices would begin to stabilise overall, before going on an uptrend.

ASF continues to be the biggest issue in swine production. As farms strengthened their disease prevention measures, incidences of epidemic diarrhoea, blue-ear and porcine circoviral diseases which were common in the past two years, are now much reduced. Apart from quarantine and disinfection measures, many farms are adding functional additives to their feed; the result is often not reliable and leads to significant increase in costs.

2. Poultry

In May, production of major poultry products and their prices were stable. Prices of eggs, broilers, and broiler day-old chicks were strong. May continued to be the peak production season for layer production, with egg supplies being generally sufficient. Egg prices rose slightly as deliveries increased. It is expected that egg production would gradually fall after June, but egg prices should tend to trend upwards. Broiler demand and prices stayed at a high level, encouraging production to increase in scale. For broiler day-old chicks, as prices stayed at a high level, producers held back on stock replenishment; it is expected that prices would adjust going forward.

Biosecurity on poultry farms are relatively better, with "all-in, all-out" being the norm, which helps in disease elimination. In most cases, fatalities are caused by E. coli and Mycoplasma infections which often require heavy use of antibiotics. Currently, prevention of viral diseases in poultry is mainly through vaccination, while treatment of bacterial diseases is through antibiotics.

3. Government policies

On May 7 in Beijing, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs held a 100-day "Two Systems" deployment meeting for the slaughtering stage in swine production. It looked in depth into the implementation of both the self-inspection and official inspection systems for ASF.

The finance department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs issued a notification in May pertaining to resource utilisation projects of livestock waste. This was in reference to the implementation of the "State Council opinion on accelerating the pace of resource utilisation of livestock waste", which is supported by the Ministry of Finance, and aims to improve the rural living environment.

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