The UK’s poultry sector has got off to a sluggish start in 2019.
Placings of both broilers and turkeys in the first two months
of the year have slipped behind the same periods a year earlier.

In the case of the broiler sector, the downturn started in
December, at the end of a year which had previously seen year-on-
year growth in day-olds every month.

Last year overall, broiler chick numbers expanded by 4% to 1,090 million, and had grown by 16% since 2014.

It is not uncommon for the industry to pause for breath after a sustained period of growth, and the last time this happened there was a 0.6% decline from 2013-2014.

In addition, expansion was particularly rapid at the beginning of 2018, and this year’s figures are still well above those in 2017 (see chart). The coming months will reveal if the setback is set to become a trend.

Turkey poults had a stronger year in 2018 with expansion in most months. Overall growth was 7% at 15.6m, although this was from 2017’s lowest annual total in recent memory, and took the industry back to 2016’s level.

In the first two months of this year, poult numbers were heading
down again, by 66,000 on the same period last year, and could
be the lowest yet recorded for January/February.