The poultry industry remains concerned about the impact avian influenza has had so far in 2015. Here are six news developments concerning the virus that you should know:
1. 2015 U.S. turkey numbers expected to drop 4 percent – In its Turkeys Raised Report, the USDA projected that the number of turkeys grown in the U.S. will drop to 228 million in 2015, a four percent drop from the number raised in 2014.
2. Cal-Maine income soars – Cal-Maine Foods, the largest egg producer in the United States, has not had any flocks affected by avian influenza in 2015, and staying free of the virus has helped its bottom line. As avian influenza infections have hit other egg companies’ flocks and created an egg shortage, Cal-Maine has been able to profit from higher egg prices. The company saw its quarterly net income rise from $27.7 million to $143 million.
3. Groups urge FDA to change rule – As the U.S. deals with an egg shortage brought on by avian influenza, the National Chicken Council and two other organizations are urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to change a rule that forces broiler breeders to discard acceptable and safe shell eggs.
4. Georgia Poultry Federation launches avian flu campaign -- The Georgia Poultry Federation has initiated a targeted campaign educating poultry farmers about this fall’s impending risks of avian influenza and the biosecurity measures that can be used to prevent it.
5. Avian flu affects Turkish poultry exports – Avian influenza is being largely blamed for a 50 percent drop in poultry exports from Turkey.
6. Minnesota testing wild ducks for avian flu – The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is offering voluntary testing of wild ducks for avian influenza. Hunters are being asked to take their birds to be sampled, but since there are no food safety concerns, the hunters can take the birds home after a swab sample is taken from each bird.