THE UK broiler sector is still struggling to regain its momentum, after an unusually sharp cutback in April.

Day-old chick placings last month were down by 5.7m on a year earlier, to 107.9m. 

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This is one of the largest monthly cut-backs on record, and cancels out the more modest recovery during February and March.

The overall total for the first four months of this year comes to 406.7m, a drop of 3.3m on the same four months of last year. 

Taking a moving total over the past 12 months shows chick numbers to be running slightly down year-on-year, by 0.24chicks to 1.18 billion.  

‘Stop-go’

The stop-go pattern has now become established for over two years, and problems with both profitability and planning permission are perceived to be a major issue hindering the industry from moving forward.

It is a somewhat different story for the turkey sector, which in April recorded the first monthly rise in poult placings since December 2021, according to Defra’s figures.

Poult numbers in April rose by 50,000 compared with the same month last year, to 832,000.