At the start of this year, the UK’s poultrymeat sector appears to be struggling to maintain momentum under the constant pressure from inflationary costs.

Broiler chick placings dropped again in January after a brief rally in December. Total day-old placings were down by 1.3m compared with the same month a year earlier, to 111m.

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The broiler sector has been on a stop-start journey throughout the 12 months to January.

It showed a year-on-year increase in seven of those months, and a decrease in five.

Overall, total chick numbers were down by 5m to 1181m over the period.

Amounting to a decline of just 0.4%, the industry can be considered to be holding its own in the face of the difficult trading conditions, compared with other sectors like eggs where bird numbers have nosedived.


The picture on turkeys is less encouraging, where the percentage downturn is much more significant and sustained.

In January, the number of poults placed fell by 160,000 compared with the same month of 2021, to 1.02m, a fall of 14%.

Poult numbers have now fallen back in every month for the past twelve. The total for the rolling 12 months to January was down 1.45m to 13.6m.

This represents an average decline for the period of 9.6%.