Bird flu and a fall in Asian demand will weigh heavy on the industry
The global poultry industry needs to prepare for a tough year in 2021, particularly in the first half of the year, following the disruption caused by Covid-19 in 2020.
According to Rabobank in its new quarterly outlook report, the industry will face additional challenges in 2021.
Senior analyst Nan-Dirk Mulder said: “Looking forward, we see four main challenges for the global poultry industry – ongoing Covid-19 impacts on markets, high and volatile feed prices, China’s African swine fever recovery and the northern hemisphere avian influenza crisis.”
These disruptive factors will require traders to refocus.
Falling demand in China and Vietnam will push traders to find other markets, which will depress global markets in the first half of 2021.
But in the second half of the year, stronger control over the spread of Covid-19 may lead to a gradual recovery of foodservice markets.
The Rabobank report said: “The ongoing tough economic conditions will challenge all poultry companies and will require a very disciplined supply strategy and a strong focus on procurement and cost control.”
It comes as 30,000 birds were to be culled in County Antrim after avian influenza was detected in a commercial flock in Northern Ireland for the first time since 1998.
There have been eight positive cases of the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain confirmed in wild birds in Northern Ireland across five different locations, as well as detections across Great Britain and in the Republic of Ireland.
An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone has been in place across Northern Ireland from December 1 and a mandatory housing order has been in place since December 23.
Northern Ireland’s chief veterinary officer Dr Robert Huey said it was a reminder of how ‘critically important’ it was to be vigilant.
He said: “I urge all birdkeepers to critically review their biosecurity measures and remind them that birds are now legally required to be housed or otherwise kept separate from wild birds.”
Elsewhere in Europe, Denmark has announced plans to cull nearly 9,000 birds after the H5N8 strain was found on a farm in the Viborg municipality.