Steep increase in turkey poult prices ahead

Christmas turkey producers are facing a further squeeze on margins, with one UK hatchery quoting a 17% hike in poult prices.

FarmGate Hatcheries, run by Paul Kelly, a major supplier of poults for Christmas production, blames high feed, energy and labour costs for the sharp price rise.

See also: So you want to…tap into the Christmas turkey market?

It comes after a 7% price increase last year, but Mr Kelly suggested that this did not fully take into account the “massive rise” in costs since the start of the Ukraine war.

“While wheat prices have been reducing, feed is still a lot more expensive than a year ago, before the Ukraine invasion, and energy and labour costs have rocketed,’’ he said.

Avian flu vaccine

But Mr Kelly said there are still grounds for optimism for this year’s Christmas trade, with the prospect of an avian influenza vaccine available within 12 months.

“The acceptance by the chief veterinary officer that a vaccination programme is needed will secure and protect the long-term future of our industry,” he said.

Mr Kelly also sounded a note of optimism on proposed new cleaning protocols for when a premises is hit by avian influenza, which is being developed by the Animal and Plant Health Agency and the NFU.

These, he believes, should make cleansing and disinfecting of infected premises “a far less daunting task”.