Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Poultry sector looks to buoyant future

April 3, 2018 by  
Filed under Livestock

Soaring demand within the UK market for poultry meat and eggs is creating opportunities for both producers and processors, say exhibitors preparing for the Pig and Poultry Fair.

UK poultry meat slaughterings increased by 4.63% to 1.08bn head between 2015 and 2016. Meanwhile, egg consumption rose by 2% to 12.8bn eggs in the year to August 2017, according to Defra statistics.

Broiler production is flying ahead, with domestic and overseas demand increasing. Andy Done, managing director for equipment supplier LA Systems, says the past few months have seen the busiest start of any year for the past decade. Sales to the egg industry have been quiet in recent years, says Mr Done. “Now, for the first time, we are getting very serious enquiries from egg producers who are moving into alternative systems such as flat deck and multi-tier.”

New buildings

The past 12 months have seen predominantly new builds, agrees to Mr Done. “Quotations for new sheds have slowed down now but coming in behind that are orders for replacements or refurbishments, feeding systems and climate control.”

With the ban on enriched cage systems due to come into place in 2025, larger egg producers in particular are looking at adapting their systems in preparation. Free-range units are especially in demand.

Orders are both healthy and manageable, says Paul Clarke, director at Clarke Group Construction. “We are seeing a steady flow of enquiries for the coming year, which is encouraging and a clear indicator that the industry is continuing with its sustainable economic growth.”

Paul Draper, managing director at DraperVent, has noticed increased investment in poultry sites. Investors are putting up buildings and then renting them to operators. “These are not your traditional chicken farmers and a lot more sites are being rented.”

Contract renting

With the increase in rented sites there is now a market for long-term contract renting of equipment, from climate control to flock management systems, according to Mr Draper. “We are looking at supplying equipment on a long-term contract including training and maintenance.

“This will mean sharing the risk over a longer period but is something that is normal practice in other industries. Rolled up with the energy costs, it means there is a fixed price to an operation, rather than the changing costs of repairing equipment.”

Knights Construction Group is also very busy – especially across Wales, Kent and Lincolnshire, says director Doug Wellington. “It is swings and roundabouts for the busiest sector; last year it was free range, this year it is more broiler.

“There are a lot of new sheds planned: We have 416 enquiries at the moment from broilers to breeders, free range and brooders. Last year we put up about 80-90 sheds and it looks to be a bit more this year.”

Planning and environmental stumbling blocks are among the chief concerns from construction and installation companies, which perceive measures around both of these to be tightening up. “I think planning permission will be a lot harder to get,” warns Mr Wellington.

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