Chinese animal feed production returns amid coronavirus: govt

10 Feb 2020 | Johnny Huang

Feed production at factories across China restarted on Monday after a near two-week shutdown, with operations reaching 50% of capacity, the government said Monday.

Regional shortages in animal feed have become a concern for the government, with many factories shut for an extended period of time for Chinese New Year as the country suffers from an outbreak of the respiratory virus. 

“According to a survey, the operating rate of feed companies nationwide has reached more than 50%, among which Guangdong, Shandong, Hunan and other big feed-producing provinces have achieved more than 70% of the operating rate," an official from the Ministry of Agriculture said Monday.

"Some large-size companies have operating rates of over 90%,” said Kong Liang of the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council.

Getting animal feed to farmers in the world's most populous nation has become a priority for the government, after transport restrictions meant to contain the coronavirus outbreak created regional shortages, leaving animals malnourished and culled.

Hubei province, home to the city of Wuhan, which was the epicentre of the disease, has seen the most disruption, although China's government said it was now focussing on this area as a priority.

Market sources confirmed that many soybean crushers and animal feed producers had restarted operations this week, although it is hard to confirm an exact figure.

“We never stopped operating,” said one major crusher in northern China, adding that many soybean crushers nearby started restoring operations early last week.

“Most of our factories have started working,” said one soybean trader at a major international crusher.

The market expects the majority of output capacity for feed and soymeal will return by the end of this week.