By Poultry World staff
straw bale dressed as a turkey BRONZE turkey poult sales are up 12% this year, says Paul Kelly, general manager of the Kelly Bronze franchise scheme.

He suggests that retail prices (farmgate or high street) for traditional farm-fresh bronze birds will range from £2.60 to £3.40/lb oven-ready, depending on weight.

TFF white birds will sell at around £2.15 to £2.80.

Overall farm-fresh turkeys should cost at least 2% more than last year, he suggests, largely resulting from the impact of new regulations such as the increased meat inspection requirements.

This is somewhat at odds with the costings from the NFU, which are lower than in 1997, according to Septembers fresh turkey market report. This is due to the year-on-year fall in feed costs which in September were down by £29-£35 a tonne, says the report.

Giant turkeys made from straw bales have been popping up at roadsides all over the country in recent weeks, part of the Kelly Bronze franchise scheme. The kits to make them (excluding the bale) were introduced on a trial basis last year, and this year are being issued free to every producer who belongs to the scheme.

The NFUs total production costs are down between 2.6p to 3.8p/lb oven-ready, depending on weight. This, for example, results in an oven-ready cost of 125p/lb for a 14lb liveweight hen (11.4lb oven ready).

The NFU annual survey of all poults placed for the Christmas trade shows a fall of 3.8% on 1997, in contrast to the growth claimed for the bronze sector.

It reinforces the idea that the market is shrinking at the very cheapest end and gradually moving further upmarket, while the gulf between the supermarket and traditional bird grows even wider.

“In the run-up to Christmas the TFF trade now seems to remain firm for those who produce a quality bird and do not try too hard to over-supply their market,” comments John Parsons in the bulletin.

Long-legged sales are expected to fall by 10% this year, as the trade moves towards evisceration and chilling. Nearly 70% of TFF growers in the NFU survey said they now used a chiller, with 65% using them for both delayed evisceration and for storing oven-ready birds.