THE UK broiler sector is now showing a much more confident tone in the latest report from Defra.

A substantial upward revision to the placings data for April published earlier, along with some strong growth in the latest figures for May, has completely altered the picture for the industry’s fortunes this year.

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A month ago, the total number of broiler day-olds placed from January to April this year was showing a fall of 3.3 million on the same four months of 2023.

The recent amendment to the April figure, from 107.9m chicks to 118.6m, has on its own added 10.7m to the running total for the year.

Then in May, chick numbers rose by 3m year-on-year to 94.7m.

Expansion

As a result, the cumulative total for this year is now showing an expansion of 10.4m chicks compared with January-May last year, taking it to 512m.

This marks a two-per-cent year-on-year increase as we approach the halfway point for this year.

These updated figures mean that the UK broiler sector has now recorded expansion in each of the first five months of this year.

Turkeys

It’s a different picture for the turkey sector. After a brief upturn in April, poult placings fell back again in May by 70,000, compared with a year earlier, to 591,000.

So far this year, cumulative poult numbers are already down by 426,000 against January-May 2023, to 3.17m.

This amounts to a decline of 12%.

Average finishing broiler liveweights were 2.33kg in May, up from 2.28kg in April.

Liveweights in the first quarter had averaged a little higher, at 2.34-2.35kg.

Broiler output in May stood at 150,200 tonnes, a rise of 9,100 tonnes on a year earlier.