The EU broiler-to-feed price ratio reached an eight year low in 2012, according to the 2012-13 Export Performance and Prospects report by Bord Bia (the Irish Food Board).
The report stated that feed costs increased across Europe and the failure of product prices to match this rise led to further pressure on the poultry industry during the second half of 2012.
However, EU poultrymeat (broiler and turkey) production increased by almost 2% in 2012 in response to increased consumption levels. Meanwhile, imports fell by about 2% because of reduced Brazilian product availability, even though imports increased from Thailand with the lifting of an EU ban.
“The poultry sector, like all meat sectors, is in a challenging environment in terms of consumer demand… but is holding its own nevertheless,” said Aidan Cotter, chief executive of Bord Bia. He said the price of poultry was more attractive than other meats for the consumer.
“The prospect for the year ahead is similar conditions,” he added. “One would hope there will be an easing in the price of feeds to make the sector more profitable.” With slower growth in EU and global output, in response to high feed costs, and with little growth in imports, there will be a modest rise in broiler prices, according to the report.
On a local level, broiler production in Ireland increased in 2012, but turkey production decreased. Overall, poultrymeat production grew 1% to 124,000t. About 85% of Irish poultry exports are to the UK and volume fell slightly in 2012, while value increased to about €175m.