Poultry Reports

Poultry Council Report May 2024

  1. Policy proposals for approval by National Council 


  1. Market Report  

IFA Poultry Committee has been focusing on protecting the farmer’s margin.  The Irish Poultry industry has had significant increases in input costs on farm and for processing plants and egg packers.  According to the CSO data, poultry prices have decreased by -1.4% over the past month and the price of eggs has also decreased by -1.6% over the same period. The really significant increases were seen in the previous 12 months by circa 20%. There is significant demand on the market for chicken and eggs at the present time and occasionally shelves are very light for product, in particular for eggs. IFA is giving a clear message to the retailers that any reductions they may make on fresh produce must not be taken from the farm gate price for fresh chicken or eggs which would negatively affect the farmers margin. We recently met with the pullet rearing companies for layer hens who report that it is very difficult to get farmers to grow pullets going forward. Succession of the farms is a real problem as there is not enough margin in this business to entice younger farmers to enter into pullet rearing. Older houses are also in need of upgrading which requires investment – but it is difficult to get farmers to do this due to the small margins in the business.  

The Committee is engaging with retailers to ensure they are fully aware that costs have not come back much to date, in relation to on farm costs and that producers are yet to receive the full amount originally asked of the market. Prices have increased on the shelf to consumers but there was significant delay in some cases in returning this increase to farmers.  

According to the European Commission, the latest average price for broiler breast meat is €5.42/kg carcass weight. While average EU egg price is €1.56/ dozen for all classes of eggs (Irish free range egg prices, reported to the commission, are €2.02/dozen wholesale while the EU average for those eggs is significantly higher at €2.21/dozen).  

  1. Activity since last National Council 
  • Continuing to grow the IFA National Poultry WhatsApp group to share relevant information and updates to poultry producers and assist with knowledge transfer.  
  • The Committee, led by Chairman Nigel Sweetnam, is in ongoing engagement with the retailers. Over the past number of months, it has met with the retailers to discuss farmers margins and other market developments & changes including changes in production systems, sustainability, and viability.  
  • Sitting as members on the Bord Bia Technical Advisory Committee for poultry and eggs to represent our farmer members. 
  • Members of the committee have been engaging with the Department of Finance, Agriculture, Revenue, and industry on VAT and have engaged IFAC to complete analysis on this.  
  • We have had a very successful trial run with the Biochar and converted 8tonne of poultry litter to 1.5 tonne of biochar with a commercial value of up to €3000. 
  • Ongoing engagement with Teagasc and further meetings to occur with Professor Frank O’ Meara to seek additional funding for the sector to conduct research and provide additional services for our poultry sector.   
  • Continuous engagement with processors and egg packers on pricing and other group relevant issues.  
  • Engagement with department, AHI, EPA, IEA, MII, Campylobacter forum and Bord Bia. 
  • Meeting with retailers on poultry specific issues relating to price.  
  • Ongoing investigation of the production of biochar from poultry litter and its potential to increase artificial fertiliser potency by between 200-300%.  
  1. EU/COPA Developments 
  • We lobbied MEP’s hard via our Brussels office on proposed IED revised thresholds. The trialogue text resulted in a reduction of the thresholds for pigs and layers and left broilers at status quo and excluded bovines. We were successful in having 36 MEPs reject the text but unfortunately lost out on the Plenary vote by a small number of votes. We will now focus on ensuring at MS level the transition is a workable one for all involved in pig farming and layer hens.  
  • European Food Safety Authority issued welfare recommendations for broilers and laying hens on farm in March this 2023. EFSA have recommended reducing stocking density of broilers to 11kg/m2 and for layer hens to 4 birds per m2. The proposed changes to the welfare regulation have been put on hold following lobbying efforts and the failure to provide economic impact assessments.    
  • We have engaged with Avec, the European poultry lobby group on several matters and they have invited us to engage more with them and consider joining the group.  
  • End of cages – presentation of study’s conclusions. Copa-Cogeca have conducted an impact assessment on the end of cages and the potential impact associated with the change for agriculture and associated transition periods. Should this come into immediate effect by 2025, it is expected that circa 3% of EU egg production would cease and up to 37% of pork meat would cease.  
  • Day old chicks – engaging with Copa-Cogeca to find a suitable and sustainable solution to address this topic.  
  • Avian Influenza update: EU vaccination programme – “In the context of avian flu, specific rules for vaccination will be introduced when used as a measure to control or prevent the disease. This will allow safe movements of animals and products from establishments and zones where vaccination has taken place” Stella Kyriakides.  

This highlights the need for a food ombudsperson with statutory powers of enforcement. This is critical to controlling the power of a small number of retailers that have reduced the viability of poultry Irish farmers. 

  1. Upcoming Issues 
  • IFA to circulate a poultry survey to its members to establish information on the age profile of the sector, the percentage of natural succession within the sector, to develop a deeper understanding on TAMS and how useful it is on farm.  
  • Actively engaging and working to ensure fair price is being returned to poultry producers.  
  • Ongoing investigation of the production of biochar from poultry litter and its potential to increase artificial fertiliser potency by between 200-300%.  
  • Seeking additional funding to provide research facilities through Teagasc with industry support for the sector.  

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