By Matt Donald, pig & poultry farmer, north Yorkshire
Firstly I hope you managed a relaxing break at some point over the festive period and I wish you the best for the year ahead. The start of a new year always seems to be a time to review things and is a time to set out aims and goals for the forthcoming 12 months.
We hope to have another 36,000 broiler breeders within the business by the end of summer once we have a new farm built and running, recent weather has meant very challenging conditions for our groundwork contractor and added some unavoidable cost to the build but we can’t change the weather.
With this on the horizon the challenge is getting people into the business, we have an excellent core team who I cannot praise enough, but this year we plan to expand that and have recently gained two promising members of the team. So for us, one aim is to ensure the people joining the business over the first half of this year have the correct mindset to support those managing our sites.
A local teenager came to us interested in agriculture and has started a weekend job, it is great to see someone so young with such enthusiasm and also a fast learner. Perhaps more apprenticeships is how we should be looking for young recruits, after all the poultry industry has so much it can offer to those willing to look for it.
No matter what the nature of your business is, team leaders are only as good as the people around them, with build cost up 40% in six years, it is vital everyone plays their part to ensure we have strong overall flock performance to help meet these build costs. Margins are squeezed at the moment and demand seems static, let’s hope by the end of 2024 the industry has a more positive outlook.