April 23, 2015


US poultry braces for falling exports as bird flu outbreak continues


The US is currently locked in a fierce struggle against bird flu outbreaks in its territories, with 12 states reportedly affected and poultry exports that fell in the first quarter of this year.


According to CNBC, more than a million birds could be culled as worries rise over a decline in poultry consumption. Trepidations further intensified following the discovery of a virus among 200,000 chickens in Wisconsin.


Another 5.4 million chicken faced termination after a fresh outbreak in Iowa. The incident triggered a suspension by Mexico, the biggest buyer of US chicken, on the imports of live birds and eggs from the state.   


In addition to Wisconsin and Iowa, the states of Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North and South Dakota, Oregon and Washington were also found to have bird flu in their poultry populations.


Since January 2015, US broiler and turkey exports have been obstructed by bans, including those from China and South Korea which together shared a combined 5.5% of overall US broiler deliveries. The suspensions means that a fewer 25.5 million pounds of broilers were shipped to these countries during February this year, compared to the same period in 2014.


In that month, total broiler deliveries had slid 17% year-on-year.


Given the declination of poultry activities, the USDA has revised its forecast for turkey exports at more than 10% lesser than 2014, at 720 million pounds this year.


At a 9% dip, the combined volume of broiler and turkey exports in 2015 may sink to more than 700 million pounds below 2014.


In the meantime, a vaccine against bird flu is now in development, said the USDA. The so-called "seed strain" will combat against H5N2 and other pathogenic viruses in the H5 family which have appeared in North America, and will be provided to drug manufacturers.

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