While this year’s outbreaks of bird flu, the worst in seven years, are following the usual pattern of dissipating during hot weather, it’s too early to declare the threat over, said the Agriculture Department on Wednesday.
Some 417,600 turkeys will be culled due to outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza on 11 farms over the weekend, said the Agriculture Department on Monday. The outbreaks helped raise the U.S. toll from the viral disease to 22.85 million birds, most of them chickens.
Highly pathogenic avian influenza, which has killed more than 17 million birds in domestic flocks since early February, has been identified in five additional states spanning 2,000 miles, said the Agriculture Department on Wednesday.
Nearly 11.8 million egg-laying hens — three of every 100 in the U.S. flock — have died in outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in less than a month, USDA data released on Tuesday show. The latest losses were 1.46 million hens in Guthrie County in central Iowa.
The Agriculture Department reported on Monday 18 outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) that claimed 1.2 million turkeys, broiler chickens and pullets. More than 15.5 million birds in domestic flocks have died of HPAI or been culled in efforts to prevent the spread of the contagious viral disease in less than two months.
The government confirmed "high path" bird flu at three South Dakota turkey farms on Tuesday as the overall toll of this year's outbreaks of the viral disease topped 13.3 million birds. Fourteen farms in five states lost a total of 481,344 turkeys to highly pathogenic avian influenza since early February.
Avian influenza was identified at a sixth turkey farm in southern Indiana, and state officials said on Tuesday the 16,500 birds on the farm would be killed while they wait for confirmation of the viral disease. Meanwhile, the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said 1.6 million turkeys, chickens and other fowl have died as part of this year's outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).
The second-largest U.S. poultry processor, Pilgrim's Pride, pleaded guilty in federal court in Denver to conspiring to fix prices of broiler meat and was sentenced to pay a criminal fine of $108 million, said the Justice Department on Tuesday. Pilgrim's was the first company to settle charges in an alleged conspiracy that involved 10 officials from five processors.
At least eight manure lagoons in hog-heavy southeastern North Carolina were breached, flooded or "overtopped" due to relentless rainfall from Hurricane Florence and flooding that is expected to continue for days, said a state official on Monday. The North Carolina Pork Council, a farm group, said "we remain concerned about the the potential impact of these record-shattering floods."
A decade ago, California voters rattled the U.S. farm sector and set off years of lawsuits by approving a referendum to give egg-laying chickens, sows and veal calves the room to stand up, lie down, turn around and fully extend their limbs. On Nov. 6, the electorate could do it again, this time by specifying how many square feet each animal would get and by banning the sale of meat and eggs from farms that do not comply with the rules.
Hogs and chickens can be raised successfully on low-protein rations if amino acids are added to their feed at particular stages of their growth, according to research at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. As a result, China, the world's largest importer of soybeans which is also in a trade war with the United States, could reduce its use of the oilseed by 5-7 percent, said the Xinhua news agency.
Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer last Tuesday signed into law a controversial bill that will amend the state’s regulatory requirements for poultry confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), local media reported. The bill was dubbed the “Tyson bill,” for its favorability to the large poultry processor who has attempted multiple times to set up a processing plant in the state.
Poultry processors will soon be able to ask the USDA’s meat safety agency for permission to run slaughter lines at up to 175 birds per minute, an increase from the current limit of 140 birds.
On one of the last days before USDA can carry out its plan to kill the organic livestock rule, the organic food movement put a full-page ad in the Washington Post, asking Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to drop the idea. The USDA announced in mid-December that it lacked statutory authority to implement the rule, which was a decade in the making, and set a 30-day comment period before it would withdraw the regulation.
Tyson, the largest poultry company in the U.S., has failed at its second attempt to find a location for a new meatpacking facility in Kansas. Last week, an economic development group in Sedgwick County withdrew its bid for the $320 million plant. The decision came amidst an outpouring of public backlash, and follows Tyson’s squashed attempts earlier this year to build the same facility in Tonganoxie, Kansas. (No paywall)
Saying there are significant issues that warrant further review, the USDA delayed until Oct. 19 the implementation of an Obama-era rule that makes it easier for livestock producers to prove unfair treatment at the hands of meat processors. The largest cattle- and hog-producer groups called on the Trump administration to kill the rule outright. Advocates said the new delay was "anti-farmer."
North Carolina is second to Georgia as the largest poultry-producing state in the nation and a new report by state environmental officials says the poultry industry produces more animal waste than they expected, says public broadcaster WFDD-FM in Winston-Salem. Not only is it more than officials expected, the nitrogen and phosphorus runoff tops hogs or cattle. In one river basin, the Yadkin-Pee Dee, it was six times more.
Animal-welfare measures created last year by giant poultry company Perdue Farms Inc., in a break with traditional poultry raising practices, are starting to show results, Perdue executives said last week. In an interview in Atlanta at the International Production and Processing Expo, the largest annual meeting of the poultry business, Perdue chairman Jim Perdue and Dr. Bruce Stewart-Brown, senior vice president of food safety, quality and live operations, told FERN’s Ag Insider the measures, which focus on “what a chicken wants,” are producing more active, higher quality birds.
New technology may save billions of male chicks from an inhumane death and help hatcheries cut down on waste. “All male chicks born at egg farm hatcheries are slaughtered the day they hatch. This is typically done by shredding them alive, in what amounts to a blender,” says the Washington Post. Males are considered “useless” because they can’t mature to lay eggs and they aren’t the same breed that is raised for meat. But with huge profits at stake, egg companies are vying to be the first to change that system.