By Matt Donald, pig & poultry farmer, north Yorkshire
The COVID-19 situation is resulting in constant challenges for every farming business, some greater than others. The work being done behind the scenes to keep the food chain moving as best it can is fantastic, and I want to thank the poultry team at the NFU for their hard work on our behalf.
Due to the collapse of the wholesale poultry market it is likely our breeder flock will go early, in order to not over supply the chick market and keep some balance through the hatchery. Time will tell and my hope is as lockdown eases things will start to change positively.
I am an optimist, and in situations like this I believe you have to look for an upside. For us, the lockdown is a weapon for productivity! With all holidays off and the inability to do anything socially at weekends, it has meant those little jobs that can usually wait another day are getting done. We have spent some time tidying stores, getting a skip in to have a sort through all those ‘we may need it one day’ spare things. I am by no means a hoarder and love a good throw away! Many people are also saying how much they get done when not travelling to and from work, an interesting concept we may see more of in the future.
Looking forwards, I’ve always gone by the motto of invest in the tougher times to be ready for the better. On the older breeder site we are making decisions to hopefully improve performance again because the time it takes for feed distribution is critical in breeders. Therefore we are looking to add extra hoppers and augers at the end of this flock in order to half the time the birds are waiting for feed. This will be enhanced by an updated control system to run the feeding programme.