Pig and poultry producers thronged the stands on the British Pig & Poultry Fair’s opening day, making the most of the opportunity so see the latest technical developments and hear expert business predictions.
The 335 stands at the Fair – held at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire –covered animal health, breeding, housing, nutrition, energy, transport, biosecurity and more, featuring more than 66 new products, giving visitors the opportunity to compare and contrast different solutions.
It was standing room only at the Poultry Forum Theatre, with chief executive of the British Egg Industry Council, Mark Williams kicking off the Egg Outlook forum.
“After four years it is really good to see people in the flesh; the industry faces some significant challenges but there are opportunities too,” Mr Williams said.
“I’ve been in the egg industry all my life and never seen this perfect storm of rising energy, fuel and feed costs and difficulties sourcing labour.”
With avian flu also in the mix, the egg industry had faced a torrid time, he added.
“We need to prepare for being clobbered with H5N8 or H5N1 again at the end of this year and next. Avian flu is still around and we need to be mindful of that,” Mr Williams said.
Looking ahead, Mr Williams said current cost pressures must be addressed as the egg industry could not afford to absorb them.
“Packers are doing their best to get costs recognised but these need to be taken forward to consumers,” he added.
Tackling sustainability was a key topic in a presentation given by Tesco agricultural manager John Kirkpatrick in the Poultry Meat Outlook forum.
“We have been looking at how we de-risk soya supply chains with zero deforestation,” he said.
“Also we are looking at waste in our supplier base and how we can support them to become more efficient and sustainable in the long term.
“We have developed a product line ‘Room to Roam’ reflecting these values. Even though we are being challenged on value there is a market for these products. Sustainability is our clear direction of travel – supplying a safe, sustainable, affordable product.”
Pig & Poultry event partner, ABN’s general manager Danny Johnson said it was great to be back meeting with people face to face again.
Mr Johnson said: “I’m really happy with how the event has gone today. Despite significant challenges facing the industry, the popularity of the Fair demonstrates how farmers are looking to the future and how they can protect and grow their businesses.”