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Cumbria farmer warns of poultry crisis
A LEADING Cumbrian poultry farmer has warned the industry faces a major re-stocking crisis following a 20 per cent hike in feed costs. Egg producer and NFU Cumbria chairman Alan Dickinson predicted the sector could end up with swathes of empty sheds as farmers cut down on poultry numbers because of poor egg and broiler prices.
Speaking ahead of the NFU North West autumn poultry conference next month, Mr Dickinson, who runs North Netherscales Farm near Penrith, said: “Industry feed costs have gone up by up to £40 a tonne in the last few months and we’ve not been able to recover the money from the market place.
“The supermarkets are at war with each other to provide cheap food and unless there’s a shortage, they find it very easy to hold prices down. But there’s no shortage of eggs at the moment and our calls for better prices are falling on deaf ears.
“It will end up with farmers not re-stocking and we could end up with loads of empty sheds.”
The feed cost hike will be one of the issues addressed at the conference in Garstang on November 8.
Key speaker NFU chief economist Phil Bicknell will talk about the global grain trade as well as issues such as exchange rates, the Eurozone crisis, food pricing and volatility – and how key economic issues impact on poultry businesses.
A talk on disease control issues will be delivered by farmer Stewart Houston, a member of Defra’s animal health and welfare board, and the NFU Mutual underwriting team will explain how insurance premiums are researched and priced.
The conference will also be addressed by the NFU National Poultry Board chairman Duncan Priestner and chief poultry adviser Kelly Watson.
To book a free place or for further information, call the NFU on 01695 554 900 or firstname.lastname@example.org