WASHINGTON – The US Dept. of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS) recently finished its report on the impacts of the 2014-2015 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak that killed more than 50 million chicken and turkeys.

According to the USDA’s report, 80 percent of the bird losses were reported between April 17 and May 19, 2015.

THE HPAI outbreak was the largest poultry health disaster in American history. The birds accounted for about 12 percent of the US table-egg laying population and 8 percent of the estimated inventory of turkeys grown for meat.

Around 87 percent of bird losses occurred in Iowa and Minnesota. The bulk of other cases occurred in the adjacent states of Nebraska, Wisconsin and South Dakota.

In response to this significant animal-disease event, many international markets for US poultry commodities implemented trade restrictions on poultry exports, which included egg, turkey and broiler products. The report stated that more than 50 countries barred imports of US poultry items.

The USDA said that economic losses from the trade restrictions on chicken and turkey did play a factor including in broiler chickens which lost .01 percent of inventory during the outbreak.

The USDA said that “…the US poultry sector may be able to recover quickly from production losses from disease events, but other market impacts — such as trade losses and price instability — can persist.”

In 2015, broiler exports were $1.1 billion lower than in 2014, a 26 percent decrease. Egg export income declined $41 million, a loss of 13 percent. Turkey export income was $177 million lower, a 23 percent decline.

In the conclusion of the report, USDA said it will “…continuously improve its policy and planning for future potential outbreaks.”

The full report is available at the link here.