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Despite the emanation of many rules around the world pandemic, Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) significantly affected the livestock sector.
This industry was severely affected by the rules that surround most working environments such as social distancing, minimal number of people in an area, restrictions on travelling, curfew and so on.
Due to the pandemic most developing countries have been faced with food shortages because of poor access to markets, since most companies closed due to fear of contracting COVID-19.
How then is the livestock sector expected to operate with all these preset measures?
Increased cost for farm maintenance
Basically, on a ranch several hands could work under normal hours, however, with the pandemic only a limited number was permitted at a specific interval. This affected both the ranch owner and employees, as the cost of production still remains high, nonetheless the output is reduced due to restriction measures on people allowed in an area. The COVID-19 pandemic drastically influenced a drag on the daily routines on a ranch, such as shifts to minimize contact and risk spread of the virus to the next employee.
Moreover, well developed state of the art farms, with cottages for employees were at a better stand, despite being unable to reach out to their family members because of travel bans. Could at-least work, but adhering to measures pre-set.
Ranch owners had to incur extra costs on livestock handling by employees due to the different shifts they worked. Furthermore, expenses such as rent, electricity and salaries still had to be fully paid by farm owners, regardless of the reduced output earned. Savings or investments had to be used to cover costs of running ranches, as income earned from visitations and other sources were on hold during the pandemic peak period.
Hectic work load
Looking at the demanding milking intervals or let alone vaccinations on a dairy farm, one would wonder how operations such as these could be carried out with a minimal number of employees. This resulted in reduced output, in this case overall milk harvested. Transportation of milk from the farm to the processing plants, had to go through a series of paperwork and consultation with relevant authorities prior to being granted permission. Hence, a cold chain has to be maintained to stifle spoilage of milk. Therefore, this directly affected the cost of most dairy products, as prices escalated in developing nations.
The sensitive nature of poultry during slaughter was also a challenge faced by most poultry farms. Sourcing of experts that ought to be there during slaughter became impossible, due to travel restrictions. This resulted in a backlog on slaughter of poultry, hence, promoting spread of diseases due to overcrowding in each section. Therefore, huge costs incurred on cost of treatment and immediate set up housing to keep excess poultry.
Reduced access to feed
Feedlot setups mostly depend on sourcing out special feed ingredients from companies locally or internationally. With closure of borders, this was practically impossible. Luckily feedlot farms producing their own feed, such as yellow maize or lucerne hay, were at a better stand.
To sum it all up, the pandemic greatly affected the livestock industry, hefty costs have since been incurred on farms around the world.