UK poultry feed production was the only feed sector to decline year on year in July, according to AHDB data, released late last week.
The data shows that, in July 2020, GB animal feed production was up 17.3% for sheep, 2.2% for cattle and calves, 0.2% for pigs and down 4% for poultr), compared with July the prior year.
“The reduced demand from the poultry sector is something that we have been seeing since May and has been driven mainly by declines in demand from broilers,” wrote the AHDB team.
The decline in poultry feed production is likely a contributing factor to the fall in wheat demand in July, which was down 3.3% year on year, said the analysts.
Poultry makes up the largest share of animal feed demand within the UK and roughly 60% of the ration is made up of cereals.
The AHDB team noted it is likely that the foodservice closure during lockdown was a contributing factor to the decline in poultry meat demand. “We have seen some producers reacting to the lack of demand of chicken into food service by reducing the number of broiler eggs they set.”
In the UK, in May, broiler eggs set were down 5.5% year-on-year, at 94.4 million eggs, said the analysts, citing the latest Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) poultry placings data.
With birds typically slaughtered between 30 and 40 days old, the reduction in placings had a knock-on effect to the number of slaughterings in July, down 4.3% than the level in July 2019.
“However, it is likely that the reduced demand for poultry by food service was capped somewhat by increased in home purchases. In the 12 weeks ending August 9, the volume of chicken sold through retail increased 8.8% on the year, according to Kantar Worldpanel.”
The AHDB team noted that some UK processing plants are not fully functioning in that they have to maintain full social distancing measures: “This will likely have a knock-on effect on processing capacity in the short to mid-term as well as future farm placings.”