Pig and poultry producers welcomed the chance to come together at the British Pig & Poultry Fair to discuss and highlight pressing issues and opportunities for the sectors.
Jen Walters, AHDB head of knowledge exchange in pork, said she was pleased to see so many producers at the Fair this week. “It had a great vibe despite the incredibly difficult circumstances. It was really nice to engage with everybody,” she said. “Producers want hope for the future and to hear about opportunities. So to hear in the Pig Forum that pork is very much in demand and consumers want to eat it was reassuring.”
However, soaring feed, fertiliser and fuel costs driven by the Ukraine War will lead to rising food prices and shortages, said Steve Ellis, chief executive of the Karro Food Group. “The impact of global shortage is global rationing – we should be protecting our own food supply at all costs,” he warned.
In the Poultry Forum Theatre, egg producers took the opportunity to highlight the cost of production crisis they are facing, with a recent British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA) survey indicating that more than 70% will leave the industry within a year if a price rise is not forthcoming.
Keen to engage in discussions with retailers, BFREPA asked representatives from Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Aldi, Lidl, Marks and Spencer and Waitrose to attend a Breaking Point Summit at the Fair. While Tesco and Morrisons discussed the issue with the industry outside of the event, and responded positively, the other retailers did not attend or respond.
Costs have risen massively in the past 12 months, explained ADAS livestock consultant Jon Walton. “Egg prices have increased by 3.1p/dozen but total costs, excluding finance, have increased from 91.7 to 117.6p – 25.9p/dozen.”
Also speaking in the Poultry Forum was Nick Davies, group agriculture director at the 2 Sisters Food Group. He highlighted the importance of analysing data to improve broiler efficiencies, as well as harnessing available government support.
The Pig and Poultry Forums are available to watch at: https://www.pigandpoultry.org.uk/2022-forum-recordings/
Technology has the answers to many challenges faced by the sectors and visitors to the Fair made the most of having all the latest innovations under one roof.
Pondus won the Poultry Business New Product award with an in-shed camera system for weighing and analysing broiler behaviour. It eliminates the need for hand weighing and improves the representativeness of weight data for farmers and integrators to support management decisions and improve planning.
Winner of Pig World New Product award was Greengage’s Animal Welfare Index, developed and trialled with SRUC. It is an innovative monitoring system and app that collects data on productivity, behaviour and the environment, and provides an outcome-based measure of animal welfare. The judges said it had great potential to help producers identify problems early and address some of the industry’s wider environmental and welfare challenges.
There were two highly commended runners up in the Pig World New Product award – Cargill’s BehavePro L, a fast-acting liquid solution which calms pigs, and the Dalton Silo weighing system from Dalton Engineering, which allow silos to be weighed without lifting them onto weigh cells.
These new developments were just a small proportion of the total, with more than 66 new products on offer among the 335 stands at the Fair.
Bob Dixon, national sales manager at ABN, which partners the Fair, said the event offered an ideal opportunity to have useful conversations with producers. “Farmers are a very resilient bunch. They are frustrated at not being able to get the profit they desperately need but are still talking about how to take their businesses forward. We had valuable discussions about incredibly volatile markets and how we can plan ahead to meet the challenges of achieving Net Zero.”
Ian Dowsland, head of agri performance and infrastructure at Moy Park, added: “It was a great opportunity to be here reconnecting and engaging with our colleagues, growers and industry partners and so good to see everyone face-to-face at last.”