June 18, 2019
China Animal Health Update (June 2019)
An eFeedLink Exclusive
By An-ming LI and Ngai Meng CHAN

Entering June, heat stress prevention is an important focal point in poultry and swine farming. Slowing down feeding frequency, reducing housing intensity, and improving feed formulation, constitute a multi-prong approach to tackle the annual high temperature season. Surging market conditions were seen in June: on one hand African swine fever (ASF) continued in southern China, on the other, broiler prices reversed from their rally.

1. Swine

The live pig market was suppressed in the south while prices rose in the north. The north was the first to be affected by ASF, with live pig inventories being relatively low, particularly in the north-eastern provinces of Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang. The supply-demand gap was obvious and swine prices rose. In the south, due to frequent ASF outbreaks recently, farmers released their inventories out of panic, leading to a slight drop in prices. Summer is the off-season for pork consumption. According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, live pig inventories declined 4.2% month-on-month in May (22.9% year-on-year), while inventories of breeding sows fell 4.1% month-on-month (23.9% year-on-year). These were further drops compared to April and were record lows; it is expected that a price increase would be seen as part of a larger trend moving into July. Responding to the ASF situation, farms are placing great importance on disinfection and quarantine. Coupled with reduced production levels, other infectious viral and bacterial diseases which were commonly seen in previous years had reduced incidence.

2. Poultry

Prices of most major poultry products were on a downtrend. Specifically, egg prices were generally stable with some decline seen, prices of white-feather broilers fell, and prices of broiler day-old chicks (DOCs) dropped to below RMB2 per chick. Along with increasing temperatures and rainfall being not conducive for egg storage, current egg supplies exceed demand. Subsequently, egg production would move into off-season, and it can be expected that prices would trend upwards. For the broiler market, lifted by previous market conditions, and coupled with the shift in meat consumption due to ASF, production continued to expand, with both inventories and stocks released increasing. The broiler market continued to be profitable. However, this was balanced by the high temperature season which restricted production expansion and slaughterhouses purchased based on demand. The significant fall in DOC prices improved margins for broiler production, and it is expected that broiler prices would continue to adjust slightly.

Under the high temperature conditions, flock immunity is reduced, and disease risk increases. Lowering housing density, improving ventilation, and adjusting feeding are common response methods. Along with increased numbers of mosquitoes and gnats, fowl pox and Klebsiella pneumonia increase in incidence. Along with the development of genetically engineered vaccines, some traditional single vaccines would be replaced by combination vaccines. Early disease prevention and the streamlining of procedures would become mainstream.

3. Government policies

On May 21, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs issued Announcement No. 172, requiring veterinary drug and vaccine companies to test for ASF, with positive identification necessitating production stoppage and product destruction. Non-compliance would be severely dealt with.

On May 29, the Ministry issued Announcement No. 174 which called for traceability requirements for: veterinary drug products, electronically; drug producers; businesses operating in veterinary drugs; pilot farms; regulatory authorities; traceability equipment manufacturers.

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