Following an April outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Japan demand for CO₂ and liquid nitrogen has risen considerably.
The outbreak affected the Miyazaki prefecture and involved the slaughter of over 110,000 cattle and pigs. CO₂ was used to destroy the infected animals, while liquid nitrogen preserved the frozen sperm of stud bulls.
From early May demand for the gases has steadily increased with levels peaking to 100 cylinders per day. In total, Miyazaki Sanso supplied around 400 CO₂ cylinders, which had previously been set aside for tunnel construction.
The company has also been responsible for providing liquid nitrogen in loads of between 10 to 20 litres per customer. In order to avoid spreading the disease, liquid nitrogen has only been supplied by truck through the Miyazaki prefecture.
Mitsuhiro Iwakiri, President of Miyazaki Sanso, stated, “Animal husbandry is a very important industry for Miyazaki prefecture. If this is in anyway harmed, the region overall would be affected. We would like to be at least of some use through a stable and safe supply gas.”
Demand is at such an extent that employees have been called into work seven days a week, similarly 18th May saw a state of emergency be declared by Hideo Higashikokubaru, Governor of Miyazaki Prefecture. Subsequently, on 17th May, a Committee for Countermeasures was established. If the outbreak continues CO₂ and liquid nitrogen supplies are expected to be stretched.