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Email Content: Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

Extent of ASF in China


Without an effective vaccine, control of African swine fever (ASF) will be almost impossible for authorities in China.  Factors contributing to persistence include a high proportion of small family-operated farms operating with defective biosecurity, the need to transport hogs over long distances, endemic ASF in feral hogs and wild boars and a substantial level of inefficiency and lack of resources at the local level.


Numerous outbreaks have occurred in as many as twenty provinces and Rabobank justifiably classifies ASF as a "dominant issue" in China. Despite questionable claims by the Department of Agriculture that the infection is under control, independent consultants note that outbreaks are not reported to the World Organization of Animal Health (OIE). A true picture of the ASF situation is best illustrated by rising prices and increased imports. Live hog prices in the Southern Provinces have increased in the past month attaining $2.70 per pound close to the record posted in October 2019.


Sow inventories are a critical measure of the effectiveness of control and a predictor for future production. During the month of May, the number of sows housed dropped four percent in Southern China and three percent in Southwest China.


For the first six months of 2020, China imported 4.75 million tons of meat higher by 74 percent than the corresponding first half of 2019.  Imports of pork for the first half of 2020 were 140 percent higher than in 2019 attaining 2.12 million tons.  For the same period, beef imports were 43 percent higher approaching one million tons. Imports continue with close to 900,000 tons received in June, approximately 10 percent more than in the previous month.  Even if data show a decline in imports during July this will not be due to decreased demand but to inexplicable obstruction of imports by testing consignments for the presence of COVID-19 virus.


Recent outbreaks of ASF in as many as twenty provinces have been associated with heavy rains.  AgriCensus ascribes the effect of heavy rains to transport of live hogs over greater distances due to inundation of roads in some areas preventing delivery to local inaccessible slaughterer plants. A second cause is that farmers who have buried dead hogs in shallow trenches are now experiencing reinfection from virus in runoff water from unearthed burial sites. Farmers have also dumped hogs dying from ASF in waterways.

Copyright © 2020 Simon M. Shane