Monday, May 18, 2015

Avian flu continues to hit U.S. flocks

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) reported another avian influenza outbreak at a commercial chicken farm in Lyon County, Iowa, affecting 275,000 birds.

The discovery of the H5N2 strain brings the number of outbreaks on turkey or chicken farms in Iowa to 46 since the discovery of the first outbreak in Osceola County in late April, according to APHIS.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health announced the discovery of the flu in a commercial chicken flock in Renville, Minn. The affected barn holds 200,000 egg-laying hens, but executives at Rembrandt Enterprises plans to destroy two million chickens to protect other flocks, according to a report in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Minnesota has reported more than 90 outbreaks at regional turkey and chicken farms since April.
An analysis from the University of Minnesota Extension estimates that the economic toll of HPAI in the state has hit $309.9 million so far, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Loss of poultry production stands at $113 million as of May 11 and the ripple effect including declines in consumer and business spending since early last week.

Poultry operations are worth an estimated $3 billion in Minnesota, which has an overall economy worth $312 billion, the analysis reported.

Separately, efforts to develop a vaccine to prevent bird flu are escalating.

The Egg Center at Iowa State University is soliciting proposals for research geared specifically for the U.S. egg industry.

The deadline to submit pre-proposals is June 3 and finalists will be notified whether they can submit a more cohesive proposal after the organization’s board reviews the responses.