By Matt Donald, pig & poultry producers, north Yorkshire
The increased pressures on the broiler industry have meant a slightly subdued demand for hatching eggs, this has a knock on effect in that if we have longer turn arounds, this pushes up our cost of production. Fixed costs, particularly loans are still to cover and we need birds on the ground to do this. We operate on an all in-all out basis and can have a farm ready in three weeks, so when gaps start extending towards 7 weeks, with little maintenance to do on a modern unit, it feels like a long time.
The value of poultry meat has to be realised, it is a fantastic value protein, even with small price increases on the shelves. It would make all the difference to those growers who are just ‘getting by’ at the moment.
The government needs to take action on monitoring what is coming into this country, as right now there is no focus on food security and the short sightedness of some ministers is allowing us to export food production, this risks food safety and security. We only need to look at the ever closer threat of African Swine Fever in the pig industry, yet the government once again has delayed border checks, it is simply not good enough!
As an industry we have ever increasing constraints on new broiler farms, therefore we do not want to lose existing ones. Despite all this poultry is still the market leading meat and there is still strong demand for British, given Yorkshire is still a place planners show more enthusiasm to agriculture, September saw us commencing a new broiler breeder unit and we look forward to getting the new site integrated into our business. Build costs have risen dramatically since our last build in 2018, but we still believe modern facilities will lead the way in efficient production.