Broiler poultry slaughtering for 2021 continue to run at 4% above corresponding throughput in 2020.
While retailer demand for poultry, chicken in particular, surged during Covid-19 restrictions over the past 15 months, there has been little increase in the wholesale price that processors receive. This is despite the additional costs assorted with all the challenges that Brexit and Covid-19 placed on the sector, from the farmers yard right through to deliver to central distribution deports. The increase in commodity grain and protein feed costs has resulted in a squeeze on margins that has not been recouped through the food chain. In order for Irish poultry farmers to get justified increases in their payment terms this needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. The need for a food ombudsperson with statutory powers of enforcement is critical to controlling the power of a small number of retailers that have reduced the viability of poultry Irish farmers. A Bord Bia quality assured 2kg whole chicken retails at €4.50 c/kg. this is not enough to pay sufficiently for all the transport, packaging, processing and most importantly the farmer for growing this chicken.
Poultry Working Group (PWG)
The PWG disease fund proposal has been rejected by the IFA Poultry committee in May 2021. This withdrawal of support for the proposal has been communicated to both the PWG and to the DAFM. The proposal to create the fund, which is fundamentally a concept that the IFA do support, has a number of major flaws that farmers cannot support. The only industry stakeholder contributing to the PWG fund proposal are farmers. All stakeholders and vested interests in the poultry industry, from processors, vets, feed milk and transporters must share the burden of creating it.
Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza
Irish Department of Agriculture lifted the compulsory poultry housing order for all poultry in April 2021. The housing order introduced in late December 2020 was implemented to minimise the risk of LPAI transmitting from wild birds to commercial poultry, especially free-range poultry. High levels of biosecurity in conjunction with the housing order were successful in keeping commercial poultry free from any LPAI outbreak in spring 2021. The one 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, continues to cause a major disruption to the bird carcass balance in Ireland. IFA are working closely with DAFM to ensure a speedy return to full market access following an official declaration last month that Ireland is now once again free of LPAI.
Broiler Package Negotiations
Western Brand (WB) committee have meet with WB management and put forward a strong case for a significant increase in the payment terms that broiler farmers supply chicken to WB. This engagement has been slow and tedious, as have similar negotiations with the other two main chicken processors. IFA are continuing to support all broiler, breeders and rearer producer groups in engaging with processors and assisting in the case for much needed payment package improvements.
Issues facing the poultry (& pig) intensive agriculture EPA licenced sector
- Ammonia Emissions
- Odour Modelling and Odour Management plans
- Slurry Storage and treatment in new pig buildings
- Licensing – new and review licenses
IFA have engaged with the licence division of the EPA bilaterally negotiation how famers can be compliant with current licences and review licenses where needed.