Farm Progress

Mike Pearson tells listeners how the Bird flu or HPAI virus has crossed over into dairy farms. It's the first mammal to get diagnosed with the virus.

April 2, 2024

Mike Pearson tells listeners about the outbreak of the HPAI (Bird Flu) virus in dairy cattle.

For three years, poultry producers have been fighting the HPAI virus.

Now, it has been found in the first mammals-- dairy cattle.

The virus was found in Idaho, Michigan, Kansas and Texas dairy herds.

Symptoms in the dairy herds have included flu-like symptoms such as refusing feed and showing signs of digestive upset. And in more severe infections, cattle have fevers and major drops in milk production.

Early estimates show herds may lose up to 40 percent of milk production for a week to 10 days.

On Friday, the FDA issued a warning to consumers that only milk from healthy cattle is eligible for sale through interstate commerce. Milk from affected cattle is being diverted and destroyed after additional testing.

In a joint statement, the USDA, FDA, CDC and APHIS say milk loss from sick animals has been too limited to have an impact on the overall milk supply and they do not anticipate any impact on the price of milk or dairy products. They are continuing to work with state partners and will provide updates as necessary.

Research on the flu spreading is continuing, the assumption is that wild birds carried the virus to the affected farms and their waste likely contaminated their feed or water supply for herds. It does not appear that cattle are passing the virus from one to another.

This has some dairy experts hopeful that he virus can be contained with strict biosecurity measures.

Producers are being reminded to keep herds away from wild birds as well as other potential sources such as mice, cats and other wildlife.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Mike Pearson, farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness.

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