China has detected new cases of African swine fever (ASF) in six farms across four locations in Hainan province, an island located off China’s southern coast, the agriculture ministry said on Sunday. This follows two cases of the contagious disease identified in the province on April 19.
The disease, which is fatal to pigs but harmless in humans, has spread to all 31 mainland provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions since August 2018 when it was first confirmed at a pig farm not far from China’s border with Russia.
On Sunday, China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said among 517 pigs across the six farms, 146 pigs had died from the disease.
Pork output fell 5.2% in the first quarter of 2019 compared with a year earlier, Reuters reports.
Pork prices already shot up in March and could rise by as much as 70% in the second half of this year, according to Tang Ke, head of China's agriculture ministry’s market and economy information department.
A separate survey from the ministry of the weekly changes in agricultural product prices showed pork had surged 22.8% last week from the same time last year.
“Livestock numbers are falling, with 18.8% fewer pigs on farms in March from a year ago. The number of breeding sows also fell 21% from a year earlier, the largest decline in a decade,” reported Pro Farmer’s Jim Wiesemeyer.
By the end of 2019, China’s total swine inventory will be down 13% to 374 million head, says the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service’s Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report on April 19. Pork production will decrease by 5% to 51.4 million metric tons, with the reduced supply only slightly offset by weakened demand. The overall hog supply is forecast to fall 8% to 1.0 billion head on a sharp decline in the sow population.
“Due to stark regional differences between several affected regions, it is difficult to project the rate of recovery for China’s hog industry,” the report said. “For example, live hog prices between North and South China depend on the ASF situation in these regions. In normal circumstances, swine industry restructuring and adoption of new genetics takes about 30 months. However, China’s ASF situation is unprecedented in complexity, scale and scope.”
ASF’s Long-Lasting Impact on China’s Animal Feed Sector
ASF’s emergence will prompt further consolidation of China’s hog sector to meet heightened government biosecurity requirements, the USDA report said.
This will require the overall feed sector to consolidate and integrate vertically, by investing in larger-scale grain handling, storage and milling infrastructure in China’s North East Corn Belt.
In South China, feed mills will shift from manufacturing hog feed formulations for small hog production operations to producing aquaculture and poultry feed. This will increase the efficiency of feed use in the hog sector.
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