Poultry producers face “uncertain future” – NFU survey
The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) has carried out a survey looking at poultry production over the last two years, revealing that producers face an “uncertain future” without greater Government support and supply chain reform.
The NFU survey looked at the impact of the past two years on poultry production and farmers’ intentions over the next two years. It found that 15% of chicken meat producers were either unlikely or unsure if they would still be producing poultry beyond November 2025, with the main reason cited for this being insufficient returns. According to the NFU, this suggests businesses have not been profitable.
The survey highlighted sector concerns, including:
- The risk of avian influenza (92% of poultry producers were concerned)
- The lack of fairness in the supply chain (76% were concerned)
- High energy prices (61% were concerned)
- Being undercut by imports (78% of producers were concerned)
The NFU said it was calling for greater fairness in poultry supply chains in order to better support the production of high quality British eggs and poultry meat. The Union is also calling for poultry producers to be included in the Energy Intensive Industries scheme and for a long-term strategy from 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.
“That’s why the NFU is calling for change within poultry supply chains to ensure a fairer sharing of risk and reward,” said Mottershead. “This survey has also highlighted the ongoing threat from avian influenza that poultry farmers and their flocks continue to face. While the number of outbreaks has been minimal this winter compared to previous years, the devastating impact the disease has on farming families is keenly felt across the sector.
“It is important not to take our eyes off the ball and we wait in anticipation for the Government to publish the recommendations from the AI Vaccination Taskforce so that informed decisions can be made to protect the national flock.”