China Struggles with Lower Broiler Breeding Stock after Flu Restrictions

CHINA - China is the second largest broiler meat consumer in the world, but production is forecast to drop by 5 per cent in calendar year 2016 due to China’s continued import restrictions on grandparent stock from major trading partners.
calendar icon 9 August 2016
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Forecasts from the US Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) suggests China’s 2017 production will drop by approximately 14 per cent from 2015 figures, if restrictions continue.

According to China Customs data, China imported nearly $40 million worth of chicks used for breeding stock in 2014, but China imported only $22 million worth of chicks in 2015 and is expected to do the same in 2016.

Prior to 2015, the US and France were China’s top suppliers of white-feathered broiler grandparent stock. Shipments are currently restricted from both countries due to avian influenza concerns.

As a result, supplies have increased from Spain and New Zealand, but these shipments have only partially offset large import declines.

With import restrictions on the top suppliers for most of 2015, and most likely all of 2016, industry sources have expressed concern that existing grandparent stocks will not be able to maintain current production levels.

The reduction in grandparent stock has led China’s poultry industry to further use a practice known as forced-moulting. The expected outcome of forced-moulting is to increase egg production, and therefore profitability of flocks, in the broilers’ second laying phases.

China’s poultry breeders use the practice to extend production of the limited white-feathered broilers currently in the production system, but industry sources believe the offset of production decline will be minimal and only a short-term solution.

The practice of forced-moulting is not prevalent in other countries because of animal rights concerns as well as concerns over increased mortality rates in laying phases beyond the second phase.

China also produces yellow-feathered broilers, from local rather than imported genetics. These broilers are expected to increase market share in 2017, but will not be able to fully meet demand created by a shortfall in white-feathered broiler supply.

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