Colin Steenhuisen, interim manager of the egg organisation of the South African Poultry Association, joins the Farmer’s Inside Track podcast to shed light on the current avian influenza outbreak. Other guests include CEO and co-founder of Italian hydroponics firm WallFarm, Ares Ferrigni; director of Zini Fish Farm in KwaZulu-Natal, Thomas Keet; North West tilapia farmer Morena Khashane and Soil Sista and Gauteng mixed farmer Talitha Zondi.
A highly contagious strain of avian influenza has broken out in South Africa. Colin Steenhuisen, interim manager of the egg organisation of the South African Poultry Association, says that so far, two cases of the strain have been reported.
“The first diagnosis has been a highly pathogenic avian influenza of the type H1N1, which is not the same type of highly pathogenic avian influenza that was diagnosed in the 2017 outbreak we experienced.”
The South African Poultry Association has provided a safety protocol to the entire poultry industry, and the affected farmers have taken measures to stop the spread of the virus.
“The farms have been placed on what’s called ‘high alert’. There are no vehicles, no strange people, no animals allowed onto the farm. The farm workers are provided with personal protective equipment.”
Steenhuisen says that the eggs from the affected farms are being retained. “They will be sent to a pasteurisation plant where they are pulped and turned into pasteurised egg pulp. Or they will be sent to a powdering plant in Bronkhorstspruit that will turn them into powder. The secret of the whole process is that once eggs or broiler poultry experience temperatures over 60°C, the virus dies.”
He recommends that all consumers cook broiler meat properly. “They should be cooking (chicken) higher than 60 degrees.
South Africa is on the natural migratory route for many wild bird species from northern Africa and Europe. The birds arrive in the country in spring then move on around autumn. Steehnhuisen says this is the reason for the new outbreak.
“It is those birds that are natural carriers of the virus. They are not necessarily killed by the virus, but they do carry the virus. It is a virus that is transmitted from bird to bird, (or by) bird faeces or dead birds.”
Find out more by listening to this week’s Farmer’s Inside Track podcast.
Other podcast highlights:
Besides the podcast interview with the South African Poultry Association’s Colin Steenhuisen, this week’s Farmer’s Inside Track also has other highlights for the agricultural sector:
Journalist Nicole Ludolph chats to tilapia farmer Thomas Keet about the current surge in aquaculture.
- Farmer tip of the week: Our farmer tip of the week comes from North West farmer Morena Khashane. He started his aquaculture business in Mahikeng in 2017, specialising in tilapia farming.
- Book of the week: Our book of the week is Land Matters by Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi. The author reviews the state of land reform in the country and finds that it should reconcile three issues: correcting historical wrongs, confronting the persistent inequities of the present, and securing an equality-based future.Grobank’s executive for strategy, environment, social and governance affairs, Carolien Samson, reviews this book.
- Soil Sistas: This week’s #SoilSista, powered by Food For Mzansi and Corteva Agriscience, is Gauteng mixed farmer Thalitha Zondi. Her agri business, where she farms with cattle, pigs, crops and chicken layers, is thriving.
- Mzansi Flavour: Noluthando Ngcakani, Food For Mzansi’s lifestyle queen, joins us to share her secret to the perfect South African home cooked meal. (It’s cheese!)
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