29 December 1995

Turkey disease hits US producers hard

AMERICAN turkey producers are being hit by a disease which is killing up to 70% of their flock.

Spikey mortality, for which there is no known cure, affects youngstock. They develop severe diarrhoea, stop eating and drinking and eventually die. In Indiana the turkey industry estimates 1000 birds are dying of the disease each day. In North Carolina, the biggest US turkey-producing state, 15% of producers are affected.

Producer groups, encouraged by the American National Turkey Federation, are funding £1.3m of research into the disease next year.

With 70m turkeys eaten each year in the US, the ANTF said total losses to spikey mortality were, as yet, relatively small. "The potential long-term impact is what worries us," says Joel Branden-berger from the ANTF. "Research efforts must be stepped up."

Peter Bradnock, of the British Turkey Federation, says the disease poses no threat to the UK. &#42