By Manny Paiva
CFIA now looking into whether PED virus is being spread through swine feed.
Work continues to find the source of porcine epidemic diarrhea.
The highly contagious and deadly PED virus has killed millions of piglets in the U-S.
It has also spread to at least 16 farms in Ontario and it's also present in Manitoba and Prince Edward Island.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is now looking into whether the virus is being spread through swine feed.
The agency says tests are underway to find out whether feed is a "contributing factor'' to the outbreak.
Officials continue to point out PED poses no risk to human health or food safety.
It appears U-S farmers are going to produce more beef this year than they had forecast last month.
But the U-S Department of Agriculture says total red meat and poultry production this year will be lower than forecast.
The latest report expects relatively large cattle placements in the fourth quarter of 2013 to carry through the first half of this year, leading to higher slaughter numbers.
But it's not going to make up for lower pork, broiler and turkey production.
The value of U-S crops has dropped from record high levels in 2012.
The U-S Department of Agriculture says prices fell 9.8 per cent last year.
The value of field crops fell to 166.9 billion dollars in 2013 -- down from 185.1 billion in 2012.
Corn and soybean harvests declined during the drought of 2012, driving prices to record highs and increasing the value of field crops.
But in 2013, an abundance of grain -- a record 13.9 billion bushels of corn and the third largest soybean crop -- sent prices downward.