Avian flu is part of the new poultry world

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“No news is good news”. Chad Gregory, President and CEO, United Egg Producers, opened his presentation at the International Egg Commission (IEC) Business Conference in Monte Carlo, Monaco with these simple words describing the fact that there are no new reports of avian flu in the U.S. in the last few weeks.

In summation, since the 2014-2015 outbreak in the U.S., a total of 42 million birds were lost (36 million laying hens and between 5 million and 6 million pullets). The cost for the U.S. poultry industry was $1 billion for depopulation, disposal, and cleaning and disinfection.

“It was something we never want to repeat in the U.S.,” Gregory said.

Chad Gregory, UEP

Chad Gregory, President and CEO, United Egg Producers, says that poultry producers must have extreme biosecurity and must be willing to spend money on it. | Photo by Benjamín Ruiz.

The market in 2015 and 2016

The loss of 36 million layers represented losing 10 percent of the egg industry and one third of the egg product industry. Consequently, the market skyrocketed and egg farmers were very profitable in 2015 and 2016.

This high profitability led to affected farmers reinvesting in more poultry houses and repopulation. And those that were not affected, repopulated and increased stocking density. In 2015, the egg market in the U.S. grew.

In February 2016, there was a highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak in a turkey farm in southern Indiana.

“The state department of agriculture acted very swiftly and within a couple of…

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