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September turkey placings point to smaller bird demand

SEPTEMBER brought a small note of improved confidence for the turkey sector, with day-old poult placings slightly up on last year.

The final month of the Christmas seasonal placings window saw poult numbers back up to their normal level after three months of weak figures (see chart).

Producers were no doubt more confident of a good market for any birds started during September as these would produce the smaller size ranges. 

Recent developments are pointing towards a holiday season where even the ‘rule of six’ may no longer be available to millions of households across the UK.

Overall, the number of day-old turkeys placed in the UK from June to September was down by over a million on 2019, to 6.6m, a fall of 14%.

Broilers

Meanwhile the latest figures from Defra show another lacklustre month for the broiler sector, when placings of day-old commercials in September were cut by 400,000 a week.

Since the start of the initial lockdown, chick placings have been down for five months out of the six. The overall drop in chick numbers over that period has been 5.2 million.

However, given the variety of problems that the industry has faced over that time, not least the massive disruption to the catering sector, it could be argued to its credit that it has pegged the downturn to just one per cent of normal output.