By Poultry World staff

MARGINS to broiler growers made a significant improvement during the summer, despite higher feed costs, according to the latest Chicken Market Quarterly from the NFU.

The average margin after depreciation during the May-July costing period stood at 5.21p/kg (2.37p/lb), calculates the NFU, representing a rise of 0.72p compared with the same period of last year.

Total costs of production fell by a substantial 1.14p, to 42.48p/kg, but this was partly offset by a parallel drop in the average liveweight price paid, of 0.42p to 47.69p/kg.

The lower production costs were even achieved in the face of a rise in the average feed price, from 144/t a year ago to 157.80 this summer.

Although the higher ration prices raised the feed cost per kg liveweight by 0.6p compared with May-July 2000, and chick costs were up by 0.133p, these increases were completely reversed by a sharp fall in other costs.

Those costs showing a significant year-on-year fall were heat, electricity, litter and medication.

Much of this decline in overheads can be attributed to a big improvement in performance factors.

One key factor enhancing the bottom line was the massive fall in farm mortality rates, from 5.5% last summer to just 2.7% this year.

There was also a much quicker turnround, which fell from 66 days to 56 days.

Liveweight gain per day improved by 2g to 57.5g/day, and this allowed a reduction in killing age of nearly 4 days compared with a year ago, even though killing weights averaged only slightly less.