Great progress in transforming the country's livestock and poultry sector has been declared by China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA). Markets have stabilized, outmoded farms have been closed, and pollution problems are being addressed.
First, MARA lauds a rebound in hog and egg markets. Hog prices went through a precipitous decline from February to May this year. The rebound in prices since May has approached the breakeven level, and some efficient farms are making good profits now. Officials say they prevented a more serious disequilibrium by issuing guidance to farmers to reduce herds to tide them over the depressed market. The egg sub-sector has also recovered from a steep drop in the market last year. The average egg price of 8.29 yuan per kg is up 42 percent from a year ago. Meat poultry, beef and sheep production is stable with good profits, MARA says.
Second, MARA reports that traditional modes of livestock and poultry production are being transformed to achieve greater efficiency. Each locality is upgrading its breeding and propagation system to overhaul the breeding stock, and genomic technology is spreading. Benchmarking helps farmers improve efficiency: the days needed to raise a pig to a market weight of 100kg decreased from 170 days to 163 days since 2012. China now has 4,573 model livestock and poultry farms that demonstrate efficient, environmentally-friendly, safe management techniques. Farms that failed inspections were shut down.
MARA says the project to designate districts where livestock and poultry farms are banned is now complete. The program eliminated 34 million pigs through farm closures, relieving environmental pressure in the southern watershed region. Livestock farms have been moved to regions that are less environmentally vulnerable.
MARA has issued technical materials to guide officials in calculating land parcels' carrying capacity for livestock waste. The central government budgeted 5 billion yuan (about $770 million) to support 200 livestock and poultry manure utilization counties that demonstrate how to collect animal waste, treat it, and utilize it as biogas and organic fertilizer for fruit, vegetable, and tea farming. By the end of the year, MARA thinks more than 64% of livestock and poultry waste will be utilized.