A new survey of broiler producers has been launched by the NFU to find out how much investment has been made in the last five years, and what is the current age and state of the industry’s housing stock.

The survey repeats the exercise the NFU last did in 2009, with one or two supplementary questions, for example about investment in renewable energy.

The 2009 survey, which attracted a 36% response rate, revealed that the average age of broiler sheds in the UK was 24 years old with 60% over 20 years.

Since then, the industry has been on a major expansion drive, triggered to some extent by the supermarkets’ desire to sell more British chicken, in the wake of the 2013 “horsegate” incident.

See also: Shed survey reveals lack of investment in broiler housing

But the NFU is concered that current tax laws and unpredictable planning procedures are hindering expansion. It is hoped that the information collected will help the NFU in its lobbying efforts over such matters.

“It is vital that as many poultry farmers as possible fill in this survey so we can establish what challenges we face going forward,” said NFU poultry board member Kinsey Hern, who is leading the survey.

“As a growing industry, we need to ensure we have a robust and fair planning system so farmers can replace their old, existing sheds with minimal red tape and bureaucracy.

“At the same time, they also need to be able to expand their businesses to meet a growing demand for quality British chickenmeat.

“It will be particularly interesting to see what impact ‘horsegate’ and the subsequent sourcing of British poultrymeat by retailers has had on the nation’s stock of broiler sheds”.

Broiler farmers can register their interest in completing the survey by e mailing gary.ford@nfu.org.uk or phoning 07966 781 003.