REGISTRATION has opened for the online forums that will take place this year instead of the British Pig & Poultry Fair.

With live events still unable to take place, organisers of the fair are bringing together series of forums that will offer insight for pig and poultry farmers in the UK on 12 May.

See also: Register now for the forums

Partnered by feed compounder ABN, the programme for the day will include the popular pig, poultry meat and egg outlooks, plus technical sessions, all of which will be free to attend live online.

NFU chief poultry adviser Aimee Mahony said: “With the sessions taking place virtually this year you don’t even need to leave the farm to get the latest information!”

“Attending the outlook sessions at the online Pig and Poultry Forums gives producers the opportunity to hear about the things that matter to their own business from a variety of representatives from across the supply chain including farmers, packers, retailers and trade bodies.”

 Egg outlook

In the egg sector, the looming colony cage ban by retailers will create significant disruption, warns Tom Willings, supply chain director at Stonegate. “Very few retailers have supported the scale of investment required to convert 50% of production and 30% of the retail trade to free-range or barn. My expectation is that, in the short-term, prices will go up. But high prices will then motivate oversupply.”

Other trends include the continuing pull between ethics and economics, quickly followed by environmental issues. There are also new challenges coming down the track, says Mr Willings. These include a potential ban on beak trimming, slaughter of day-old male chicks, and transport and slaughter of end-of-lay hens. “We only need to look at the EU to see what’s coming – there is a strong direction of travel which we cannot ignore.”

Poultrymeat outlook

It’s been a difficult year for the poultry industry, with Covid-19, Brexit and avian influenza all causing market disruption. But there is room for cautious optimism, according to Danny Johnson, commercial director at ABN,

Consumers are increasingly focusing on higher welfare and slower growing birds, and retailers will want to meet those demands, he explains.

This will require a joined-up approach throughout the supply chain – and a higher price at the end of it. “In this forum, we will be hearing from Sophie Throup at Morrisons and Jonty Hay, who sits on the Red Tractor board for independent producers.

“I am looking forward to hearing their thoughts on what retailers want and how that will fit into the standards. Ultimately, we all want to know what that change will mean for producers.”

See also: Register now for the forums

Programme for Online Pig & Poultry Forums

Sector ForumSpeakers
Poultry09:00Poultry Meat OutlookDanny Johnson, ABN (Chair)
Sophie Throup, Morrisons
David Neilson, Avara Foods
Jonty Hay, Hay Farms
10:00Success with the slower growing birdMatthew Donald, (Chair)
Patrick Nicholls, Hubbard
Charles Bourns, Producer & NFU Poultry Board
10:45On-farm hatching for welfare and performance Jake Davies, Poultry Network (Chair)
Erik Hoeven, Nestborn
Tom Wornham, Poultry Producer
Pigs11:30Pig Outlook Mike Sheldon, AHDB (Chair)
Sophie Throup, Morrisons
Andrew Saunders, Pilgrim’s Pride
Rob Mutimer, NPA
12:30Optimising sow and pre-weaning piglet performanceSteve Jagger, ABN (Chair)
Chris Opschoor, Topigs Norsvin
Kristian Volshoj, AB Neo
13:15Ammonia: What’s coming, how to prepare and funding opportunitiesJon Foot, AHDB (Chair)
Philippa Mansfield, Catchment Sensitive Farming
Simon Lague, Big Dutchman
Daniel Holling, Big Dutchman
Eggs14:30Egg outlookAimee Mahony, NFU Chief Poultry Advisor (Chair)
Tom Willings, Stonegate Farmers
Rebecca Tonks, St Ewe Free Range Eggs
Mark Williams, British Egg Industry Council
15:30Importance of water quality on layer performanceIan Lowery, Crowshall Vets 
Christine Parry, ABN (Chair)
16:00What does Net Zero look like for free range eggs?James Baxter, BFREPA (Chair) 
Heather Webb, Promar