Farm gate turkey sales to the local community remain a valuable growth area, according to one of the leading specialist poult suppliers to the traditional market.
“While we are in recession and going through tough times, collecting the turkey from the farm and meeting the farmer has tremendous perceived value,” advises Paul Kelly, managing director of FarmGate Hatcheries.
According to Mr Kelly, demand for top-end birds increased last Christmas despite the recession.
He urges producers to study their customer base and produce what they know they can sell: “Do not rely on maybe selling surplus turkeys at the last minute to fellow producers.”
Producers looking to save money should opt for “as hatched” poults. “The poult price alone amounts to a 20p/kg saving and the feed conversion on males is also better,” he explains.
“From experience, a poult order that is about 33% as-hatched plus 66% sexed hens will give most producers a spread of weights to supply most order books.”
“Our breeds of stags fill any gap and most importantly have better eating quality than large strain hens. The small males are also perfect for making jointed products.”
“The fast growing hens are bred to have very lean meat and because of the fast growth have much larger meat fibres that are very coarser and dry out more easily. Explain this to your customers – they cannot ignore eating quality. The grain and marbling of the meat is totally different.”