Japan’s worst-ever bird flu outbreak has decimated its poultry flocks and sent egg prices soaring. Now there’s a lack of space to bury dead chickens.
More than 17 million birds have been killed nationwide this season. The disposal of carcasses must be done properly to prevent spreading the virus or contaminating water supplies. Local governments and farmers say there’s a shortage of suitable land to bury them, national broadcaster NHK reported.
Japan’s case highlights the need for countries to review how they deal with avian influenza, especially as record-breaking death tolls due to the virus are becoming a norm around the world. While outbreaks have occurred mainly in Europe, the United States and Asia, the disease has spread further to South America in recent months, with Argentina, Uruguay and Bolivia reporting their first cases.
This is roiling global meat and egg supplies at a time of heightened inflation fears. The outbreak in Japan has forced companies including McDonald’s and 7-Eleven to suspend the sale of egg-related items or increase their prices.
Farmers and authorities usually develop pre-incident plans to manage wastes generated during a bird flu outbreak, including carcasses, manure and personal protective equipment. But the number of chickens to be disposed of has increased beyond their expectations, NHK said. Some regions are burning the dead chickens if they can get hold of incineration facilities.
A dry spell is parching Canadian farmland when growers most need moisture to plant the wheat and canola crops that help feed the world.
Parts of the Canadian Prairies have experienced the second-driest start to a year in 45 years, said David Streit, senior meteorologist at Commodity Weather Group. Swaths of key spring wheat regions including Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have received less than 60 percent of average precipitation since September 1, according to Canada’s agriculture ministry.
“It becomes a bit of an art to try and get those seeds at the right depth into the soil because you need to be seeding into moisture to get them to germinate,” said Bill Prybylski, a farmer and vice president at Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan. “If there isn’t good moisture, those tiny plants are quite susceptible to adverse conditions.”
Canada is the world’s top canola grower and a major wheat exporter. Drought fears in Canada come amid continued uncertainty about wheat exports from the Black Sea region and as dry conditions in parts of the US threaten to cut output.
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