AFTER ten months of the year, the long-term expansion in the broiler sector appears to be back on track, although at a fairly modest rate.
Although chick placings in the first quarter were down by 3.2 million compared with the same period last year, the situation has now turned around since then.
Chick numbers were up by 4.2 million year-on-year in the second quarter, and by 3.5m in the third. Figures for the latest month, October, show placings holding steady.
As a result, cumulative day-old broiler placings during the first ten months of this year have shown a net increase of 4.5 million overall on 2022.
This brings the total for the January-October period to 1.01 billion, a rise of half a per cent.
In addition, the expansion rate since April shows a much stronger performance by the sector. Chick placings during the April-October period show an expansion of 7.7 million, or 1.1%, compared with the same months of last year.
Reversal of trend
If this trend is maintained until the end of the year, it will mark a reversal of the direction in 2022, when placings showed a slight decrease on the year before.
Chicken production naturally lags behind the placings figures, and in October there was a sizeable jump in output compared with a year ago.
UK chicken output was up by 8,500 tonnes (carcase weight equiv.) to 173,000 tonnes, a rise of 8.5%. This reflects the large rise in placings in August.
So far this year, chicken production has increased by 23,000 tonnes compared with Jan-Oct 2022, an increase of 1.5%.
In the turkey sector, the downturn has continued into October, with another sharp drop in day-old numbers. Poult placings fell by 270,000 year-on-year, or 24%.
With poult numbers dropping in every month, the total for the year to date is down 2.6m on last year to 9.5m, a fall of 21%.