Bottlenecks continue to pressure livestock and poultry producers
Livestock producers continue to operate under pressure, despite increasing challenges from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. But it’s not easy as pork, beef, and poultry processors are reducing their processing capacity to account for absenteeism, a reduced labor force, and slower chain speeds.
Mike Boerboom is a pork producer in Marshall, Minnesota. “We have about 9,000 market hogs that are backlogged,” he says. “We’ve taken some actions on our sow farms to reduce output and try and create space in the supply chain. But, by no means have we been able to alleviate the backlog of those 9,000 head.”
Herrington, Kansas cattle feeder Shane Tiffany says they’re fortunate they’re still able to move some of their cattle. “We should ship around 1,600 head a week and up to 2,000 head this time of year,” he says. “We’ve been able to move about 400 a week.”
Butch Sensley raises broilers (meat poultry) in Louisiana. He says they’ll lose at least two flocks because of the disruption. But he’s even more concerned about the long-term impact. “We’re seeing a little shortage now,” he says. “But once the chains come to a complete halt it’s also going to take a minute to start it back up. The poultry industry produces a lot of protein, the whole chain is stopped if the processing plant in your area can’t receive the product.”
All three producers took part in a virtual panel discussion hosted by Farm Credit on Wednesday.