IN October, the broiler sector appeared to overcome some of its recent difficulties and rallied again after three months of more subdued activity.

Day-old chick placings in October recorded an increase over the same month last year, as well as over October 2019, for the first time since June (see chart below).

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At this stage, the renewed expansion remains relatively modest compared with the first half of this year.

In October, total chick numbers came to 113 million, just a million more than a year ago, and around half a million more than the year before.

It came in the wake of three months when total chick placings had shown a significant year-on-year decline in July, August and September.

The cumulative fall over the period was 12.5m chicks, or 4%, compared with 2020.

By contrast, in the first half of this year, chick numbers had been up by nearly 24m, an average rise over the six months of 4%.

So that still leaves the UK broiler sector in net growth for the year to October, by 12.25m or 1.2%