the Irish Farmers Journal reported that 18% of the 57 poultry farmers who took part in the survey plan to leave the sector this year, which will put a damper on the 16.5 million birds registered in Ireland in 2020.
This will likely be the first major drop in bird numbers in many years. In the decade between 2010 and 2020, bird numbers have increased by almost 51%.
The survey found that the main contributor to rising input costs for poultry prices is the price of energy. More than half (51%) say they have seen energy costs increase by more than 50% this year, with 6% saying they have more than doubled. The majority (58%) saw farm energy costs increase between 30% and 79%.
Retailers stop ignoring calls for higher prices
The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) poultry committee has demanded that retailers stop ignoring calls for higher prices and call for a food ombudsman with legal enforcement powers to check the power of supermarkets. The IFA says a small number of retailers have reduced the viability of Irish poultry farmers.
Farm Assured A Bord Bia Whole Chicken 2kg sells for €4.50/kg at discounters, which is not enough to sufficiently pay for transport, packaging, processing and feeding costs for the poultry farming.
And the egg business also suffered as soaring feed costs put downward pressure on margins, but at least some of the costs were partially covered by processors.
Ensure a “fair share of the consumer euro goes to farmers”
In response, the Irish government said a bill to create a new office for fairness and transparency in the agri-food supply chain was on the cards.
IFA President Tim Cullinan said the Office must have full investigative powers and be able to compel chain actors to provide them with real data and backup documentation: “This Office will be crucial in ensuring a fair share of the consumer the euro goes to farmers and in regulating unfair trading practices. If this does not guarantee a viable price to farmers for their labor and investment, then we will see more farmers in the horticulture, potato, pork and poultry sectors closing their doors.