Pullet and chick prices set to rise

Pullet hatcheries and rearers have warned egg producers to expect rises in chick prices over the coming months due to the unprecedented rise in feed costs, adding to increases in other costs.

Other costs include the increased expense of testing to meet the new zoonoses legislation and the impending Agricultural Wages Board rise, all resulting in a level of inflation in production costs not seen in recent times.

Chairman of the Pullet Hatcheries Association, Robert Haynes said: “Over the past couple of years we have seen some stability in feed costs, although last year we had to cope with a massive fuel price rise.

“The hatcheries are always looking for innovative ways to improve efficiency, but this time we cannot absorb the feed and testing costs. Unfortunately it looks as though chick prices will be rising sharply in the autumn.”

Steve Carlyle, chairman of the Pullet Rearers Association echoes this view. “World feed prices look set to stay high with demand from China, the political shift towards bio-fuels and the recent wet weather in Europe and drought in Australia combining to give these previously unheard of levels.

“On top of this, we are now testing every delivery of chicks for salmonella. It doesn’t take long for these costs to work thorough,” he said.