WELL-documented problems with labour and transport have put a brake on the poultrymeat sector during the summer, after showing a strong start to the year.
Latest Defra figures support the predictions of tighter availability on UK-reared turkeys this season.
See also: In review: last winter’s avian influenza outbreak
Poult numbers dropped by 32,000 a week during September compared with a year earlier, to an average of 391,000.
There was a drop in poult numbers in two of the four critical months for putting down fresh turkeys for Christmas this year, with the total for June-September showing an overall decline.
Cumulative poult placings over the four months were down by 2.2% on summer last year.
Perhaps more significantly, given that Christmas celebrations and family get-togethers were sharply curtailed last year, there has been a much more substantial cut back overall than pre-pandemic levels two years ago.
Total poult numbers placed between June-September, at 6.45 million, were down by 1.25m on 2019, a fall of 16.6%.
Broiler chick placings fall again
The UK broiler sector was still lagging in September, for the third successive month.
Chick placings during September were down by an average of 600,000/ week, compared with the same months in both 2020 and 2019.
Following two months of lower placings in July and August, it amounts to a total shortfall of 12.5m day-olds against last year in the third quarter, a drop of 4.2%.