Young broiler chickens© Design Pics Inc/Rex/Shutterstock

Egg and poultrymeat producers say oversupply and the potential threat of a disease outbreak are the biggest concerns they face over the next three years.

The NFU’s spring 2016 poultry industry outlook survey asked respondents to rank potential threats in order of importance, with layer producers putting oversupply in the top slot, while broiler producers cited disease as their number one threat.

The survey, which was carried out this March and answered by 343 respondents, found lower sales prices were the next biggest concern.

See also: NFU poultry shed survey reveals improving infrastructure

Other survey results

  • 27% of layer producers say they have increased the length of time hens are kept
  • 22% of all producers say they intend to work at improving relationships in the supply chain
  • 59% of boiler producers and 49% of layer producers will be pursuing an increase in production performance over the next three years

Source: NFU

Overall, the results – covering 102 broiler producers, 126 with layers and 58 people from allied industries – showed the poultry sector is feeling largely optimistic.

The survey showed 64% of respondents saw the next three years as either very or fairly positive, with just 13% saying they viewed the period as very or fairly negative.

Broilers v eggs

Meat producers tended to be more optimistic than those in egg production – 73% of those with broilers had a very or fairly positive outlook, compared with 52% of layer producers.

In terms of investments, broiler producers were more likely to have invested in renewable projects or buildings and facilities in the past three years.

The most common form of investment has been in renewables, with 76% of broiler producers and 37% of layer producers having gone down that path.

Increasing production

Looking to the future, 52% of poultry farmers said they would be looking to increase production performance over the next three years and most farmers said they thought this was the opportunity that offered the greatest promise.

Some 44% of all producers said they would be looking to expand their business, which the NFU said was notable given that oversupply had been farmers’ top concern.

Broiler producers were nearly twice as likely to be considering investing in new technologies and three times more likely to be investing in renewables over the next three years.

However, those with layers were much more likely to be carrying out direct or local marketing than broiler producers.

One-quarter of all farmers said they would also be looking to diversify outside the poultry sector in the coming years.

The results will inform outlook sessions at this year’s Pig & Poultry Fair.