The British Free Range Egg Producers’ Association is appealing to pullet rearers considering introducing up-front payments to give producers time to adjust.
Egg producers currently pay for their birds between 14 and 28 days after delivery, but some pullet rearers are planning to switch to requiring part-payment before delivery.
Last month Steve Carlyle of Country Fresh Pullets told Poultry World he wanted to minimise the hit if egg producers went bust before paying for their birds. He suggested charging 20% six months before delivery, and another 30% half way through rearing.
But egg producers are struggling in the current market and are concerned at having to find money up front for their new birds. BFREPA vice-chairman Roger Gent is therefore asking rearers to introduce any such terms gradually.
“Although we may not like it as producers, it is not something that we could realistically object to in the long term,” he said in a statement. “We don’t want pullet rearers exposed to bad debt, but we don’t want egg producers to suddenly have to find large amounts of money up front for their next flock.
“Although we may not like it as producers, it is not something that we could realistically object to in the long term.”
BFREPA vice-chairman Roger Gent
“If this is going to happen, then we would like to see it introduced gradually to give producers time to adjust.”
He suggested that egg producers could pay a smaller amount up front for the first flock, with that payment gradually increasing flock by flock.
“This would, hopefully, give egg producers time to accrue enough capital over time to meet the requirements of the new terms,” said Mr Gent. “I don’t think these kind of terms will be a bad idea in the long run, but egg producers do need help to make the change.”
With free-range eggs in surplus and feed costs rising, many egg producers are already making a loss. It is also understood that the hatcheries are also planning to raise chick prices, to help cover some of the extra cost of feeding breeding flocks.
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