THE poultry sector has bucked the trend among UK livestock producers since the summer by increasing its demand for compound feeds.

During the July-October period, most livestock sectors recorded a fall in their usage of finished rations, while the egg and poultrymeat sector as a whole showed a small increase.

See also: A stable six months for poultry feed markets

According to AHDB, animal feed production in the UK has been running at a seven-year low during the current cereals marketing year, which starts in July.

Total tonnage of feed manufactured from July to October was down 1.9% compared with the same period a year ago, to 4.26 million tonnes, the AHDB figures reveal.

Sheep rations dropped by 17%; cattle by 2%; and pig along with other rations by 6%.

Integrated units

In contrast, demand for egg and poultry rations, which make up 48% of all compound feed, edged up 1% to 2.04 million tonnes.

However, a closer look at the poultry figures reveals that the upturn in ration usage was confined to integrated units, which increased output by 8% year-on-year, to 743,000 tonnes, for the Jul-Oct period.

Laying sector recovery

The most rapid expansion was driven by the recovery in the laying sector, where integrated compound production was up 24% year-on-year.

Broiler compound output within the integrators rose by 6%.

Meanwhile, feeds produced for independent producers fell by 2% to 1.30 mt.

Both layer and broiler compounds were lower compared with a year earlier, although chick-rearing rations were up by 12% during the four-month period.

Farmgate turkeys show confidence

In a year when the turkey sector is struggling, independent turkey growers are looking more confident.

Output of compounds for private turkey growers was up by 13% to 57,000 tonnes, from July to October, which covers a big part of this year’s Christmas growing season.

By comparison, feed output among the turkey integrators was down 11% to 73,000 tonnes over the same period.

The picture since the start of this year is even more concerning for the integrated sector, where ration output has been down 24% on the first 10 months of 2022.