The broiler sector is now back on track to reverse its drop in bird numbers during the first half of the year.

This follows a substantial rise in placings during August and September.

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Weekly chick placings in September were up by 4.4% compared with the same month last year, in the wake of August’s 6.6% increase.

On top of a small rise in July, it means an extra 11m chicks were placed in the third quarter of the year, compared with the same period of 2021.

This has now pulled back a downturn of 14m chicks during the first half year, to just 3m for the year taken as a whole.

Chicken production, meanwhile, is already showing a positive trend for this year.

Output was up by 3,300 tonnes, or 0.31%, for the period from March to September, which is the period when most of this year’s placings will have hit the processing plants.

That still leaves around half of August’s higher placings, and all of September’s yet to be processed.

This rise in output was largely achieved by an increase in average slaughter weight during the year to date of 100g to 2.36kg, amounting to 4.4% extra per bird.

Turkey poult numbers dropped again in September by 2.6%. This followed a decline 0f 8% in July and 7.5% in August.

As a result, the total number of poults placed during the summer was down by 320,000 on last year, to 4.83m.

This is the period when the majority of birds are put down for the fresh Christmas trade. The total number of turkeys available this Christmas will also inevitably lower, given the number of avian influenza cases bitting turkey farms.

In total for the year to date, poult numbers have been down by 830,000 on 2021, to 11.0m.