Meat & Livestock News

HPAI Outbreaks Cause Turbulence in Turkey Markets

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The turkey industry is facing a period of uncertainty due to the ongoing Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) outbreaks, with processors bracing for the repercussions on the supply chain. Brian Boerigter, CEO of Michigan Turkey Producers, discussed with Brownfield the significant market volatility experienced over the last year and a half.

Boerigter noted a dramatic downturn in January of the previous year, with projections indicating a potential $45 million decline in revenue by fiscal year 2024. He expressed relief that Michigan has so far avoided any cases of HPAI.

Since early October, there have been close to 20 confirmed instances of HPAI on turkey farms. Boerigter suggests that the broader economic climate is contributing to subdued pricing, and the impact of the lost birds has not yet fully manifested in the market.

Consumer demand has been affected by price increases across the board, and a rebound has not yet materialised. Boerigter believes the developments in the HPAI situation in the coming two months will be critical.

In response to the outbreaks, the grower-owned cooperative has employed a full-time veterinarian to enhance biosecurity measures and ensure the health of the birds.

Michigan ranks as the 10th largest turkey producer in the United States by weight, highlighting the potential impact of the HPAI outbreaks on the state’s agricultural economy.