Cumulative poultry slaughtering for 2021 to mid-March stand at 23,579,626 birds as at the end of Week 11, up 4% compared to the same period last year. A drop off on the early weekly throughput where it was running over 10% above 2020 figures. Broiler chicken, which make up the vast majority of poultry meat throughput have significant scope for future expansion in 2021 if building can commence under the current easing of Covid-19 restrictions. There is a backlog of planning applications in both the EPA and the local planning county councils in Monaghan and in Co Limerick currently awaiting the go-ahead to commence building of breeding and boiler growing houses.
The demand at retail level for chicken, especially chicken fillet continues to increase by approximately 10% year on year. Ireland is only 50% self-sufficient in chicken fillets and this figure is increasing due to the popularity of chicken meat with the Irish consumer. The industry has grown to meet this demand but there remains significant scope and opportunity for further increases in the Irish broiler poultry sector.
Lobbing Activity: Thia Hennessey Poultry Economic Report
The IFA Poultry Committee have been involved, along with the Poultry Working Group (PWG) in the distribution and follow up lobbying with elected representatives, TDs, Senators and Country Councillors, particularly in regions where poultry plays a significant role in the local rural economy. The main ask is the provision of exchequer funds for the Irish poultry sector to assist in the sustained growth of this market. While the opportunity for additional growth in the sector is clear, as highlighted in their recent Thia Hennessy UCC economic report on the industry, this growth must be sustainable on three fronts; environmental, financial and on a human/family aspect also and the IFA Poultry Committee believe that this sustainable growth is achievable.
New Irish Chicken Brand Lunched
Manor Farm based in Shercock Co Cavan have recently launched a new chicken range, branded Sicín Sásta. Manor Farm say Sicín Sásta is offering the consumer additional choice. This new brand is based on the Ranger breed of bird, which is a slower grower than the traditional Ross broiler and well suited to Irish free-range conditions. Its great quality taste, the new and different packaging with sustainability at the forefront, and the welfare of its chickens will appeal to many consumers.
Quality assurance and country of origin continue to be an important consumer influence in the purchase of poultry and Sicín Sásta has 100% ROI Bord Bia Quality Assurance.
Poultry Working Group (PWG)
The PWG funded economic report on the Irish poultry sector has been distributed to decision makers in the Department of Agriculture and key elected officials. The PWG are continuing to lobby through channels developed over the past year with Department of Agricultural officials, for support for the poultry meat and egg sector.
High Pathogenic Avian Influenza
Irish Department of Agriculture issued a housing order for all poultry on the 24th of December. This order requires that all poultry must be kept indoors, in order to protect the entire industry against the spread of Avian Influenza from the wild bird population. This housing order has been successful to date in that no further outbreaks of AI have been reported on the island since early January. The positive case of HPAI in turkeys in County Wicklow last December has caused huge damage to the industry. Many importing countries have restricted all poultry products from Ireland as a result. This loss of markets, in particular to China and South Africa, has caused a major disruption to the bird carcase balance in Ireland. The Irish consumer has a strong preference for chicken fillet. We do not consume huge quantities of chicken wings, drumsticks, brown chicken meat or offal products such as feet and heads. An outlet for these products is needed and the industry is hopeful that markets will allow access again in the near future.
With no cases reported in over 8 weeks in the wild bird’s population, the DAFM are planning for a controlled and phased lifting of the compulsory housing order from the 12th April.
Senior Policy Executive