19 Feb 2021

Adverse low temperatures during winter are affecting poultry operations in the U.S.

As expected, winter can be harsh when the weather is out of control. During the bad winter conditions in which the temperatures drop drastically, there are snowstorms with adverse effects such as power outages, road closures, and traffic accidents. Consequently, it affects companies’ workflow, leading to temporary closures or reduction of shifts.

Adverse low temperatures during winter are affecting poultry operations in the U.S.

As expected, winter can be harsh when the weather is out of control. During the bad winter conditions in which the temperatures drop drastically, there are snowstorms with adverse effects such as power outages, road closures, and traffic accidents. Consequently, it affects companies’ workflow, leading to temporary closures or reduction of shifts.

Those situations are reflected in fewer feed shipments to the farms or a reduced number of slaughtered animals. It was confirmed by different companies such as Cargill, Sanderson Farms, Tyson Foods Inc., and Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. this season. They expressed that inclement weather is blocking the production and affecting the supply chain for livestock.

In Kansas, City members of Tyson Foods Inc. said that poultry operations had been affected. They also added:

 

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“We are committed to the safety of our team members and animal welfare during this period of extreme weather. In support of these commitments and energy management efforts to keep the communities in which we operate safe, we have temporarily suspended or scaled back operations at some of our locations. We are in close contact with energy companies to minimize disruption and fulfill customer orders.”

The Winter Storm Uri has been a challenge for farmers and companies in general. Processing plants belonging to Sanderson Farms in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, were not able to operate yesterday (Feb. 17), and shifts for this morning (Feb. 18) were canceled. Additionally, there were some reports of collapsed broiler houses in Mississippi.  Sanderson Farms’ CEO, Joe Sanderson Jr., expressed that “this experience is similar to a hurricane” and “our top priority has been and will continue to be the safety of our employees and independent contact producers.”

Monty Dozier, AgriLife Extension program director for disaster assessment and recovery, said that so far, there have not had formal requests for animal feeding or assistance yet. Still, some issues in poultry operations have been observed. Also, he mentioned that the feed supply chain is being impacted because of issues on icy roadways. Thus, producers are concerned about feed transportation.

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On the other hand, Pilgrim’s Pride spokesman said that to minimize operations’ impact, they are working with local officials and energy companies. At the same time, Cargill representatives informed that the company was not spared of the damages.

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