July 15, 2019

China Animal Health Update (July 2019)

An eFeedLink Exclusive
By An-ming LI and Ngai Meng CHAN
At the point of writing in July, wild market fluctuations were yet to be seen in China's swine and poultry industries. Meat consumption is weak in the hot season, with supplies being sufficient. With disease prevention measures adding to market pressures, mixed fortunes were seen in the farming industry.

1. Swine

African swine fever (ASF) continues to be the biggest problem in China's farming industry, with the national live pig inventory having fallen sharply. The tense supply of fattening pigs is becoming more obvious, and coupled with the slowing of herd growth performance in the summer period, standard live pig weight has decreased. Slaughterhouses are finding it difficult to make purchases and are raising their prices. In comparison, live pig and pork supplies in July were tighter than in June, and it is expected that swine prices would rise further. Currently ASF is still not fully under control. In particular, southern provinces have been hardest hit, with the release of swine stocks being limited, and prices are starting to rise.

Disease control is currently the top priority. Although there were successful cases of stock replenishment on-farm in Jiangsu province, which have given the market some confidence, the success rate was still relatively low, with more reluctance seen from farms in the hardest-hit areas. Disease prevention including disinfection continues to be a major focus for farms, particularly at farm-gate. This has also helped in the effective control of other infectious diseases. However, more attention should be paid to Mycoplasma diseases during the hot season. On July 8, Phibro announced that it had made a major research development for its ASF vaccine, and was applying for patent protection. However, it is the author's view that like other recent claims on ASF vaccines, further verification is needed, and disease prevention and control should be the top priority for farms.

2. Poultry

According to statistics, prices of major poultry products in July were generally stable. Specifically, egg prices continued to rise slowly while those of white-feather broilers fluctuated slightly. The summer period is the off-season for egg production, and supplies in different regions were showing different levels of decline. Coupled with food processors which were beginning to stock up for the autumn period, egg prices are being lifted, which is expected to continue into the short term. Poultry meat consumption is typically lacklustre during the summer period. The market demand was generally unstable: the shift from pork to poultry consumption was not as direct as earlier expected, and coupled with slaughterhouses tightly controlling their inventories, prices of white-feather broilers are expected to further adjust slightly into the short term.

In response to the high temperature and humidity of the summer period, poultry farms should continue to pay particular attention to diseases like leucocytozoonosis, coccidiosis and fowl pox, including the use of wet curtains and ventilation to reduce temperatures, and reducing housing density to sustain growth performance and liveability, while improving bird welfare at the same time.

3. Government policies

On July 9, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs issued Announcement No. 194, which called for the complete ban on medicated feed additives for growth promotion by July 1, 2020.

By January 1, 2020, for all categories of medicated feed additives for growth promotion (except traditional Chinese medicine), veterinary drug companies are to cease their production and import, and all relevant product approval documentation and import certificates would be cancelled. By July 1, 2010, feed producers are to cease the production of all commercial feeds containing medicated feed additives for growth promotion (except traditional Chinese medicine). Separately, coccidiostats and traditional Chinese medicated feed additives would be re-classified from "veterinary additives" to "veterinary drugs" for product approval purposes, and would be allowed for use in commercial feeds and during the farming process.

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