Extremely high temperatures have embraced much of the
US, particularly in the south. These searing temperatures are proving to have
serious consequences. How is the country's poultry industry
Record high temps in Georgia and other states have topped 100ÂºF (38ÂºC),
with heat indexes even higher. As of 20 August, more than 40 people have died
from the oppressive heat. Many areas in the south have seen record highs of over
As it seems, the current heat wave is being met with as much success as can
be expected, due to the assistance of modern poultry farm equipment and grower
"All things considered, chickens in Georgia are doing very well," says Abit
Massey, president of the Georgia Poultry Federation. "One of the most dramatic
things that has happened (during this heat wave) is the impact of tunnel
ventilation. Upgraded and new housing, tunnel ventilation, cool cells, etc.,
have helped considerably."
Mike Pepper, president of the Mississippi Poultry Association, also owes
the success of the industry to poultry houses being better equipped, with the
introduction of better technology and good adaptation to the new technology. He
says that everything has been affected by the heat, including livestock, crops
etc, but the poultry industry has done well.
Ray Hilburn, deputy commissioner of Alabama's Department of Agriculture and
Industries attributed the poultry industry's success against the high
temperatures to the use of ventilation technology. "If we had had weather like
this 15 years ago, we would have lost a million chickens," he said.
In North Carolina, Donald James, Prestage Farms' production manager, says
they have lost approximately 1,000 of its 4 million turkeys during the week of
August 10. "We've got the equipment in place, but sometimes the heat just gets
unbearable. We've done pretty good considering how hot it's been," James said.
There is also positive news from Virginia. "Despite the recent high
temperatures, I am so far not aware of any significant impacts from the heat in
Virginia," said Hobey Bauhan, president of the Virginia Poultry Federation.