CHICKEN production rose again in June as the UK broiler sector continues to produce heavier birds.
The average bird weight at slaughter was up by 110g during the month compared with a year earlier, from 2.31kg to 2.42kg, an uplift of almost 5%.
See also: Strong demand for poultrymeat but operational challenges remain
Broiler killing weights have been rising throughout 2022, with the average increase in liveweight since the start of the year working out at around 160g, compared with the first six months of 2021.
The average killing weight this year to date has been 3.37kg.
This has raised UK production by 33,000 tonnes in 2022 vs Jan-Jun 2021, a rise of 3.7%.
The trend to heavier birds has been balanced by a reduction in chick numbers, with day-old placings down 14.7m overall since the start of this year to 596m, a drop of 2.4%
This decline continued into June, when placings were down 4% on June 2021, marking one of the year’s most significant monthly falls.
A similar trend of rising killing weights could be taking place in the turkey sector.
Here, there is evidence that production is also rising this year, while poult numbers have been reined back.
Since the start of the year, Defra has been unable to publish average slaughter weights for turkeys and turkey production figures.
However, estimates based on published poultrymeat output suggest that turkey production has increased by about 8% in the first half of the year, equivalent to an extra 4,000t, and mainly in the first four months.
Allowing for the longer growing times for turkeys (compared with broilers), most of this rise in output came from birds placed in the final months of 2021, but day-old placings were dropping in the second half of last year too.
So far this year, there has been an 8% cumulative fall in poult placings, amounting to half a million day-olds in total. Placings in June itself were down by almost 9%.