Heat Wave Too Much For Minnesota Turkeys

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(credit: CBS) Adam Carter
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The end of the heat wave couldn’t come soon enough for Minnesota turkey growers.

The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association says it’s received widespread reports of turkey deaths at farms across the state.

“I’ve heard from some (growers who’ve lost) 50 birds, up to 45,000 or so,” said Steve Olson, executive director of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association.

One farm in Redwood Falls lost nearly 50,000 turkeys alone.

While Olson says turkeys can acclimate to heat fairly well, the sustained nature of the heat wave was too much for the birds.

“(It’s been) so hot during the day, doesn’t cool off very much at night, and then if there’s no wind moving it gets real tough for the birds,” Olson said. “It starts to affect the way they’re breathing.”

Losing a significant number of turkeys can be devastating for growers. Olson says the cost is anywhere from $10 to $25 per bird.

“You multiply that by a few thousand, and it starts to add up pretty quickly.”

Olson doubts the widespread deaths will affect the price for turkeys.

WCCO’s Adam Carter Interviews Steve Olson

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