ANALYSIS - The latest forecasts for poultry meat and egg prices in the US have been revised upwards, while the volumes are lower than the estimates from last month, writes Jackie Linden. A look at poultry feed costs in the UK reveals that prices are now more than double where they were in 2006 and only just down from the record level. Changes to animal disease surveillance in the UK have received mixed reactions. Four people in China and Hong Kong have been infected with the H7N9 avian flu virus.
The latest USDA estimates for poultry meat and egg production in the US for 2013 and 2014 have been published in the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report this week.
The new estimate for broiler meat output in 2013 has been revised downwards from last month and now stands at 37,766 million tonnes, while the figure for turkey meat production this year is now 5,835 million tonnes.
No change has been made to 2014 broiler production since last month; it stands at 38,900 million pounds. However, the turkey production forecast has been reduced to 5,915 million tonnes, based on the latest hatchery data.
The egg production forecasts have reduced slightly for both 2013 (to 7,933 million dozen) and 2014 (8,065 million dozen).
At 7,391 million pounds, the 2013 broiler export forecast is lowered slightly based on exports to date but the forecast for 2014 is unchanged at 7,550 million pounds.
Turkey exports are raised for 2013 from 745 to 767 million pounds but the forecast for 2014 is unchanged at 780 million pounds.
Price forecasts for broiler and turkey meat and egg prices have been raised in the latest report for both 2013 and 2014.
Turning to the UK, a recent enquiry about the historical cost of feed for farm livestock caused us to take a deeper look at the figures.
It is widely known - and deeply felt by livestock farmers - that compound feed prices have soared in recent years as a result of strong global demand for grains for food, animal feed and fuel as well as poor harvests in key countries.
What is striking is just how much higher the prices are now from those first figures - with an increase of 114 per cent in the cost of a tonne of poultry feed.
Also in the UK, the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) has announced in the last week what is describes as an improved approach to scanning surveillance to better detect new and re-emerging animal diseases and threats in England and Wales.
The new system aims to improve both geographical and species-specific coverage of disease surveillance across the region by making better use of the expertise and resources of private vets, universities and the livestock industry, says the Agency.
While the National Farmers Union of Wales, NFU Cymru, has welcomed the move, the Royal College of Pathologists has warned that it puts at risk the health of livestock and means new and re-merging infections could be missed.
And finally, turning to Bird Flu News, two members of the same family in Zhejiang province in China have been reported with H7N9 avian influenza virus infections while in Hong Kong, two new victims have been confirmed, both of whom have recently returned from China and had contact with poultry. Samples taken from two live poultry markets in Guangdong province have tested positive for H7N9 bird flu.
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