Turkeys are selling for record high prices ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday as a resurgence of bird flu wipes out supplies across the U.S.
Avian influenza is devastating egg and turkey operations in the heartland of the country. If just one bird gets it, the entire flock is culled in order to stop the spread. Millions of hens and turkeys have been killed in recent weeks. As a result, prices for turkey hens are nearly 30% higher than a year ago and 80% above pre-pandemic costs. Just as concerning are inventories of whole turkeys, which are the lowest going into the U.S. winter holiday season since 2006. That means there will be little relief from inflation for Thanksgiving dinner.
“There’s nothing appearing on the horizon to suggest anything new is going to surface to help ease the supply-side pain for Thanksgiving turkeys,” said Russ Whitman, senior vice president at commodity researcher Urner Barry. The new bird flu cases “are troubling and involve turkey meat birds, which will without doubt firm up an already firm scenario,” namely that there may be shortfalls during the holidays.
The virus’s comeback is a surprise because there was already a major avian influenza outbreak in the first half the year that killed over 40 million birds. The disease doesn’t usually return, as the heat of summer kills it off. The current outbreak, which brings death totals to over 45 million, is likely to only get worse as wild birds begin to fly south, said Beth Thompson, South Dakota’s state veterinarian. Bird flu is propagated by migrating wild birds that swarm above farms and leave droppings that get tracked into poultry houses.... Read More: Bloomberg