Many Farm Fresh Christmas turkey producers have decided to keep their prices at last year’s levels.

That was the message to emerge from the series of NFU turkey marketing meetings held around the UK last month.

Speaking at the Anglian Turkey Association’s traditional round up of prospects at Feering, Essex, NFU poultry adviser Kelly Watson highlighted that feed costs were lower than the same time the previous year. Starter rations were down 3% on last year and grower and finisher by 6%.

However, moving in the opposite direction was a 2% increase in the cost of processing, 3% more on packaging and a 9% increase on offal disposal, where costs ranged up to £1 a bird on some farms, but averaged out at 36p.

Bill Homewood of Peach Croft Turkeys, Oxfordshire (8000 free range turkeys plus 2300 geese) and Stephen Childerhouse of Great Grove Poultry, Attleborough, Norfolk (8900 turkeys and 800 geese) have both left their levels more or less unchanged apart from slight increases for the 5.5kg weights at Great Grove.

“Some hard-pressed butchers were looking for price cuts until I pointed out that there have been increases in other areas that brought them back to 2008 levels,” said Mr Homewood.

Both ran the same number of turkeys and geese as in 2008 and both are Traditional Farmfresh Turkey Association members, marketing under the Golden Promise label.

At the London NFU meeting, Essex producer Paul Kelly of Kelly Turkeys highlighted that even when holding prices, a traditional free range bronze bird still offered good value for money to consumers.

He recently investigated carcass yields and found a traditional free range bronze typically has 50% more of the premium breast meat at the same liveweight than a standard supermarket fresh bird.

“This means the difference between the TFTA and supermarket birds is much smaller than the price tag suggests. We need to promote this value for money aspect more.”