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HomeEconomyThanksgiving turkey prices have never ravaged U.S. chicken flocks like bird flu

Thanksgiving turkey prices have never ravaged U.S. chicken flocks like bird flu

(Bloomberg) — Turkey prices hit a record high on Thanksgiving, largely due to an unexpected resurgence of bird flu that swept the United States.

Avian flu primarily affects egg and turkey businesses in the heart of the country. If only one bird gets it, the entire flock is culled to stop the spread. Millions of hens and turkeys have been killed in recent weeks. As a result, the price of turkey is nearly 30% higher than a year ago and higher than the previous year 80 % – Pandemic expenses. Also worrisome is the inventory of whole turkeys, the lowest since 2006 heading into the U.S. winter holiday season. That means inflation for Thanksgiving dinner will hardly ease.

“There’s no sign that anything new is coming to the surface to help ease the supply-side pain for Thanksgiving turkeys,” said Russ Whitman, senior vice president of commodities researcher Urner Barry. New cases of bird flu “are troubling, involving turkey poultry, which will no doubt cement an established situation” of possible shortages during the holiday season.

The resurgence of the virus is surprising given that there was already a major bird flu outbreak in the first half of this year, resulting in more than 40 Millions of birds died. The disease usually does not recur as the summer heat kills it. Beth Thompson, a state veterinarian in South Dakota, said the current outbreak has resulted in more than 60 deaths in total, and as wild birds begin to fly south, this may only be the case got worse. Avian flu is spread by migrating wild birds that flock above farms, leaving their droppings traced to poultry houses.

This year’s bird flu “doesn’t seem to be affected by that hot summer, and for the next four to six weeks we’re going to see those migratory birds coming back from Canada and flying over the U.S.,” she said. “This may increase the viral load in the environment.”

While the 2015 outbreak is considered the largest in history, this year’s virus spread A much larger shock to the domestic market and prices. That’s because it comes on the heels of supply chain shocks from the Covid-30 pandemic and coincides with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has sent energy and agricultural prices soaring.

According to Urner Barry, the price of a turkey is $1 this week. 80 pound, compared to $1. 30 Last week and $1. Before the pandemic. Meanwhile, wholesale eggs were at $3 as of Wednesday. 80 A dozen, a new all-time high, above the previous record of $3. 42 Earlier this year, John Brunnquell, CEO of Egg Innovations, one of the largest producers of free-range eggs in the U.S., said the It’s a dozen episodes. Consumers have tripled the price of eggs at grocery stores this year, while the price of turkey has hit a record 60%, according to a report from Cobank.

READ MORE: Inflation squeezes 13% over classic American dinner lunch

The unusual return of bird flu raises concerns that such outbreaks will become more common. That could mean continued price increases for eggs and turkeys. The economic cost is also huge. The last major outbreak of 2015 cost $3.3 billion to recover. This year’s pandemic has eclipsed that figure, Cobank said. Due to factors such as high labor and feed costs, it took longer for their flocks to bounce back, keeping prices high, the report said.

“We may be entering a new phase, as in Europe, which may be a new normal because there are a lot of wild birds that are carriers,” Brunnquell said. “We may be entering a new world of poultry.”

For small farmers, just one case of bird flu can completely ruin an operation. Thisteldown Farms in Hicksville, Ohio raises 2 organic chickens annually and sells them directly to the family in the area. This month, a poultry producer near northwest Ohio was forced to slaughter 3 million chickens.

There are millions of your own birds that need to be cleaned up,” said farm owner James Jacobs. “If [my chickens] got bird flu, my entire operation would have been ruined by once. absolute. ”

©2022 Bloomberg LP

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