A SURVEY conducted by the NFU of poultry farmers has suggested many feel their future is uncertain without greater government support and supply chain reform.

It found that 24% of egg and 15% of poultrymeat farmers were either unlikely or unsure if they would still produce poultry beyond November 2025.

See also: Retail poultry and egg inflation falls sharply

The main reason cited for this was insufficient returns, which suggests businesses have not been profitable.

The survey looked at the impact of the past two years on poultry production and farmers’ intentions over the next two years.

Two hundred and fifty-three poultry producers responded to the survey, which ran between 9 and 23 November 2023.

The survey also highlighted some of the critical concerns for both sectors, including:

  • The risk of avian influenza (94% of egg producers and 92% of chicken meat producers were fairly or very concerned)
  • A lack of fairness in the supply chain (90% of egg producers and 76% of chicken meat producers were fairly or very concerned)
  • High energy prices (92% of egg producers and 61% of chicken meat producers were fairly or very concerned)
  • Being undercut by imports (90% of egg producers and 78% of chicken meat producers were fairly or very concerned)

It also quantified some of the price rises producers have faced in the past two years.

In the laying hen sector, this included average increases of:

  • 31% for feed
  • 35% for electricity
  • 22% for workforce salaries
  • 23% for pullets (young female laying hens)

In the poultry meat sector, this included average increases of:

  • 31% for feed
  • 41% for electricity
  • 20% for workforce salaries
  • 13% for chicks

The NFU is calling for greater fairness in poultry supply chains, for poultry producers to be included in the Energy Intensive Industries scheme, and for a long-term strategy from the government to be set ahead of any future outbreaks of avian influenza (AI).

NFU poultry board chair James Mottershead said: “British eggs and poultry meat are staple parts of so many people’s diets, but the sector is under a huge amount of strain. Incredibly volatile production costs and the threat of avian influenza have put producers under extreme pressure.

“The sector urgently needs support, certainty and fairness applied across the supply chain if it is to remain strong in its production of quality, safe, nutritious and sustainably produced poultry meat and eggs which we know the vast majority of the British public rely on.