African swine fever hits large commercial farm in China

China has suffered its biggest and most serious outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) as the disease was confirmed today on a farm with nearly 20,000 pigs.

The case in the in the northeastern Liaoning province was confirmed on Monday in a statement published on the website of China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. A total of 221 pigs died on a 19,938-head farm Jinzhou city, according to Reuters news agency.

Commercial farms have until now largely stayed clear of the virus, but this development is being seen as a significant escalation of a crisis that was already causing huge damage to China’s $1 trillion pig industry.

“The fact that the disease was confirmed on a big pig farm showed that it got more serious,” said Yao Guiling, an analyst with consultancy China-America Commodity Data Analytics.

“Big companies usually have better biosecurity measures. (The new outbreak) highlights the difficulty in controlling the disease. Companies will probably rethink or slow their output expansion plans.”

Reuters reported that the disease had also been confirmed on two more farms in the region. A farm with 1,571 pigs in Panjin city reported an outbreak, which killed 109 pigs, while 129 out of 270 pigs died from the disease on a smaller farm, also in Panjin.

China has implemented a range of measures to control the disease since the first case was confirmed in early August, but it is struggling to contain it. The disease was also reported in Tianjin city last week.

Pig prices have plunged in China’s northeast after farmers were unable to transport their herds out of infected provinces, while prices in the south have surged. News of the spread of the disease sent shares at top domestic pork producer Henan Shuanghui Investment & Development Co Ltd closing down 7% on Monday, the Reuters report said.

For Reuters’ graphic on ASF in China, see tmsnrt.rs/2PDt6Ud

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About The Author

Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.