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Traditional turkey producers should be paying less for their poults this year, following a decision by Paul Kelly’s Farmgate Hatcheries to cut prices.

“This is the first time I have ever been able to do this,” said Mr Kelly in his annual customer newsletter. “Hens are reduced by 6p a poult and ‘as hatched’ by 3p a poult.”

As a result, the popular Roly Poly hen for delivery on 22 June is now quoted at £5.19, compared with £5.25 last year, based on deliveries of 1,000-3,000. Wrolstad birds, typically taken a bit later in the season, are priced at £3.23 each for “as hatched” from 22 June to 3 August, and £5.19 for hens.

“Buying ahead is nothing short of playing roulette, but I have to say, wheat prices at circa £135/t for the rest of the year does seem a pretty safe bet.”
Paul Kelly

See also: Top tips for successful turkey production

The small price cut reflects the drop in feed costs the company has enjoyed in recent times, which it says it is now looking to share with customers.

On the subject of feed price, Mr Kelly says volatility continues to be a major problem. He advocates buying three months’ worth at a time, to ensure hitting an average price.

“Buying ahead is nothing short of playing roulette, but I have to say, wheat prices at circa £135/t for the rest of the year does seem a pretty safe bet.”

The seasonal newsletter also includes Mr Kelly’s four-point strategy for traditional turkey producers to develop sales, as follows:

  • Offer a 24/7 ordering service which must be online and not a telephone answering machine
  • Work hard locally to increase farmgate sales
  • Extend opening hours for farmgate collections into the evening
  • Start offering joints and added-value products

“The market is growing and you must get into it to stay in the race,” he said.  “Last year 72% of our farmgate sales were still whole bird — but 28% were crowns or joints. They were averaging about £16/kg at retail and can be very profitable.”