Massive Disease Outbreak Targets Chicken and Beef Industry

Photo by Finn Mund on Unsplash

( – A contagious bird flu strain has been making its way across the United States affecting not only chickens but also dairy cows. It is also believed that in Texas one person who is working with affected cattle has also tested positive for the disease. 

Type A H5N1 influenza virus has resulted in major egg producers needing to kill off millions of chickens as they try to stop the spread of the disease. This is currently an economic loss for producers but could ultimately also affect the grocery bills of many families. 

Oklahoma State University professor of agricultural economics Amy Hagerman argued that they would expect to see the prices increase as there is a large number of eggs that are being removed from the market for the next one to two months.

As she pointed out after the Easter Holiday there is usually a decrease in the demand for eggs which causes a price drop. However, as she argued she does not expect that this will be the case this year. Furthermore, egg prices have not completely recovered following the fluctuations of the last two years. 

In 2022 there was a large increase in egg prices as the bird flu had led to 10 percent of the laying hens in the country being killed off. Currently, federal data has shown that the average egg price for a dozen eggs is around $2.99. This is significantly worse than half a year ago when the same amount of eggs would go for around $2. Still, it is also an improvement when compared to January 2023, when a dozen eggs had averaged around $4.82. 

While influenza could have an effect on egg prices, the situation could be different for dairy products. 

Concerns started to increase after cattle started getting sick. While the virus is not as deadly and contagious with poultry as it is with chicken, there have not been as many reports about the outbreak’s progress. Still, fewer deaths could potentially mean that the dairy industry will not be impacted as much.

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