BROILER output in the UK took a sudden plunge in July, after a year of generally rising output, according to latest Defra figures.

Output was down by 17,200 tonnes (carcase weight) compared with July last year, a drop of 10%. Slaughterings in July were down by 8 million year-on-year to 98m, while average killing weights were similar to 12 months earlier, according to Defra.

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Until last month, the trend generally across the industry this year had been towards lower placings (down about 15m year-on-year in January-June to 610m) but accompanied by higher liveweights (up by an average of 160g over the same period).

As a result, chicken output rose overall by 33,000 tonnes in the first half of this year, helped by the carry-over of higher placings in the last six weeks of 2021 into this year’s output figures.

Latest placings figures for July show the downturn continuing, with broiler chick numbers down by 1.8m compared with a year earlier.


In the turkey sector, poult numbers have been steadily slipping back since the start of the year. Placings were reduced by a further 150,000 in July, bringing the total down to 670,000 fewer birds since January, at 7.9m.

Defra has stopped releasing turkey production data since the start of this year due to problems with the data, but estimates suggest that output was down by around 1,000 tonnes in July compared with the same month in 2021.

So far this year, turkeymeat output was up by 7,000 tonnes in the first four months, and then down by 4,000 tonnes in May-July. This leaves the year-to-date at 58,700 tonnes, an increase of 3,000 tonnes overall.