Farmers in Victoria have been dealt a vicious blow by the outbreak of Newcastle disease at a poultry farm in Melbourne.

Millions of dollars worth of chicken meat and egg exports from Victoria have been halted following the discovery of the disease – the first incidence of Newcastle disease outside New South Wales.

Some 200,000 chickens will be destroyed within a ten kilometre zone to try to prevent the spread of the disease.

Giz Marven, president of the Victorian Chicken Meat Processors, says the whole poultry industry is under threat, if the disease isn’t contained within the region: “The products that we’ve pre-sold and have on the wharfs that are booked for ships to go in the next few weeks – they can’t go.

“If the state is totally suspended then we’re going to be holding an awful lot of stock but we’ll also have to stop producing products for export and look for a domestic market for some of those.”