September 24, 2003



Hurricane Damage On US Poultry Production Uncertain


Surveys conducted to assess the damage on the U.S. poultry industry from last week's Hurricane Isabel show little detail, but a general consensus was that the industry survived well.


Some farm-level damage were reported on farms along the eastern U.S. coast, mostly confined to roof damage, and some flooding, said Richard Lobb, director of communications for the National Chicken Council. The National Turkey Federation added that its office has not been notified of any major destructions.


Power cuts may have temporarily suspended work on farms but production has swung back to normal, said a market analyst. This from the fact that wholesale prices for chicken rocketed early last week in the U.S. northeast as buyers stocked up ahead of the storm. But prices have since stabilised, indicating that few of the feared disruptions actually took place. Total poultry losses were estimated at less than 50,000 birds.


The east coast belt where Isabel struck has less than 10% of total U.S. chicken supply, and since the damage apparently was marginal small, the total effect on national supplies will be unnoticeable. But it was noted that the effects of Hurricane Isabel could have been much more severe, if the storm had moved further in.


Power losses were the largest setback, and farms without alternative power generators had to be aided by those which did.

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