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OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

BUSINESS BRIEF Latest egg and chicken costings

THIS ISSUE N E W S F O R P O U LT RY M E M B E R S O F T H E N FU

Turkey Market 2012 – what’s in store? Breeding to beat campylobacter PLUS Goosenargh Ducks and Seldom Seen Geese – inspiring member stories

NFU ENCE CONFID 2012 SU RVEYnfident

Are you co of the re in the futu ustry? d in poultry

Focus on

POULTRY MEAT


Contents

This issue Squeeze on margins cannot go on any longer

S

ince I last wrote this column the speculation about weather impacts on feed commodities has turned to hard fact and there is no getting away from the truth that all livestock farmers are facing severely reduced margins or even significant losses. Free range egg producers are particularly hard hit as are our British pig producers and all the industry associations, including NFU, have been working hard to highlight the difficulties to the rest of the supply chain to try to improve producer prices. The work continues but the time for talking I fear is almost at an end. Many producers have borrowed as much as they can or exhausted savings. They need to know their customers are going to support them with a fair price that reflects rising costs of production and they need to know it soon! The annual NFU Confidence Survey inserted inside this issue of Poultry Forum is one way you can express your views to the NFU and help us get your message across. Please take a few moments to complete and return the survey. Elsewhere in this issue you’ll read slightly more optimistic views on the upcoming Christmas poultry market and some quite uplifting articles about NFU members who continue to build successful businesses even in the face of tough times. I hope you’ll be inspired. Alison Bone, Editor, Email: alibone@btconnect.com or Tel: 01285 862377

15 10

17

21 4 Events

20&21 Business Brief

7 Chief’s comment

23 NFU Confidence Survey - let

9 Beating Campylobacter 10 Goosnargh gets it right 12 Turkey market 2012

BFREPA Conference 22 November – ‘Stronger Together’ For the first time in many years, the BFREPA conference is moving to a new venue; the National Motorcycle Museum in Bickenhill, Solihull. Organisers BOCM Pauls have been greatly impressed with the facilities at the museum and are confident the free-range egg fraternity will enjoy an excellent conference. Speakers will include Professor Patrick Wall from UCD Institute of Food and Health who will bring a touch of Irish charm to the occasion, Susie MacMillan, a free range producer from Sussex with a passion for her birds and communicating with the public and Professor Christine Nicol from the University of Bristol who will be updating the audience on the latest research into managing hens without beak trimming. For more information or to register attendance contact Linda Falkingham on 01757 244006 or E. Linda.falkingham@bocmpauls.co.uk

October • November 2012

14 Back to black 15

25 Egg market latest 27 Real life on the egg farm

– Rick Dewhirst comments

31 Free rangers, we need you

Turkeys for troops

17 You’ve ‘Seldom Seen’ a goose as good

19

us know how you feel

Musing from the Mill

to provide costings

34 So you thought we’d got rid of the AWB!

39 Planning – is it all plain sailing now?

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

BUSINESS BRIEF Latest egg and chicken costings

THIS ISSUE N E W S F O R P O U LT RY M E M B E R S O F T H E N FU

Turkey Market 2012 – what’s in store? Breeding to beat campylobacter PLUS Goosenargh Ducks and Seldom Seen Geese – inspiring member stories

NFU NCE CONFIDE2012 SURVEY

dent Are you confiof the in the future y? poultry industr

Focus on

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Front Cover: iStockphoto

POULTRY MEAT 001_poultry_Oct12_v01.indd 1

Editor: Alison Bone Tel: 01285 862377 Sub editor: Jo Travis Designers: Toby Lea and Seema Parmar Produced by: The NFU, Agriculture House, Stoneleigh Park, Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, CV8 2LZ

02/10/2012 15:10

Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided in this publication, the editor and the NFU cannot accept liability for errors or omissions.

NFU POULTRY FORUM

3


Diary dates

coming events

EPIC Conference – Rising to the global challenge

October 1-7 British Egg Week 2012 8 www.britisheggweek. com 9 WCLA Conference on Renewable Energy with NFU Chief Adviser Dr Jonathan Scurlock. Padbrook Park Hotel, Cullompton, Devon. 6pm. Contact: Rachel Watkins. ( 07966 558386 8 Rachel.watkins@duchy. ac.uk 19 The Poultry Club of Scotland dinner, Dunblane Hydro, Dunblane. Contact: Steven Mitchell. ( 07730 070664 8 csmitchell@viewbank. demon.co.uk 24 Yorkshire Egg Producers Discussion Group – David Evans- Morrisons’ Head of Agriculture, Burn Hall Hotel York, YO61 1JB Contact Harry Atkinson ( 07557 159341 8 harry@ thompsons-feeds.co.uk 24 Severn Valley Poultry Discussion Group, Pengethley Manor Hotel, Ross on Wye. Contact: Anthony Harman ( 07775 580363 8 anthonyharman@ humphreyfeeds.com 31 WCLA pullet rearing course Colliton Barton Farm, Broadhembury. 11am – 4pm Contact: Rachel Watkins. ( 07966 558386 8 Rachel.watkins@duchy. ac.uk

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9

14

24

21

22

WCLA Poultry Health & Welfare – Advanced Course 10.30am – 3pm. Colliton Barton, Broadhembury, Devon. Contact: Rachel Watkins. ( 07966 558386 8 Rachel. watkins@duchy.ac.uk 8 www.britisheggweek. com NFU East Midlands Poultry Forum Regional office 1.30pm arrive for lunch with 2pm start. Contact Carol Puddephatt. ( 01572 824259 8 carol.puddephatt@nfu. org.uk LEAF President Event: The Changing Faces of Sustainability 10am – 12pm, HSBC Tower, London. 8 www.leafuk.org Datapoul Gut Health Seminar, Padbrook Park Hotel, Cullompton, Devon. Contact: Alison Colville-Hyde. ( 01392 872932 NFU National Poultry Board, NFU HQ, Stoneleigh Park. Contact Kelly Watson. ( 0247 685 8620 8 kelly.watson@nfu.org.uk British Free Range Egg Producers Association conference, National Motorcycle Museum, Solihull. Contact: Linda Falkingham, ( 01757 244006 8 linda. falkingham@bocmpauls. co.uk SWCA Annual Dinner, The Shrubbery Hotel, Illminster. Contact: Alison Bone. ( 01285 862377 8 swca@hotmail.co.uk

November

28

4-5 Egg & Poultry Industry Conference, Forest of Arden Hotel, Warwickshire. Contact: Howard Birley ( 01480 217318 8 info@ epiconference.co.uk 8 www.epiconference.co.uk

Please check dates and venues with contacts and organisers before travelling to meetings.

At last year’s EPIC speakers were asked to comment on the environmental impact of global food production and the increasing emphasis on sustainable production. This year’s conference extends and builds on last year’s EPIC theme and challenges speakers to address this year’s theme – rising to the global challenge. Can productivity and efficiency help? The poultry industry leads the way in producing quality poultry meat and eggs efficiently and at a price consumers can afford. The industry’s record in production efficiency is unmatched. In the 1950s for example to reach a weight of 2kg, a chicken had to consume virtually twice as much feed as it does today to reach the same weight. Equally impressive gains in productivity and efficiency have taken place in the egg laying, turkey and duck sectors. Much of these impressive results have been achieved through new technology, advanced genetics, investment in new housing stock and highly skilled, experienced operatives. Speakers such as Duncan Sinclair, agricultural manager, Waitrose; Frederic Grimaud, CEO – Group Grimaud and Lord Digby Jones (pictured) will all be seeking to provide their thoughts and guidance on the subject. Egg and Poultry Industry Conference, 4th and 5th November, Marriott Forest of Arden Hotel in Meriden. Go to www.epiconference.co.uk for more information.

EGG-CELLENT LINKS www.nfuonline.com

www.hgca.com/markets Updated cereal prices

www.ukturkeys.co.uk www.britegg.co.uk www.ilovebritishturkey.co.uk  I Love British Turkey website www.greatbritishchicken.co.uk

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NFU POULTRY FORUM

www.theranger.co.uk British Free Range Egg Producers Association

October • November 2012


NFU update

The Chief Comment By Chief Poultry Adviser Kelly Watson

T

he International Egg Commission Conference (IEC) took place in London during September. Delegates come from all over the world. Whether it was Japan, China, Barbados or Mexico feed price was top of the agenda. The publicity around the US drought, the global grain market and commodity prices has been high and purchasers of poultry meat and eggs cannot have failed to pick up on these facts.

More noise on feed We continue to reinforce these messages at a number of levels within the supply chain with Peter Kendall talking to CEOs and NFU poultry staff talking to the technical teams. At the packer and processor level, they have told me they are in negotiations with the supply chain, however, the highly competitive retail market place is making it difficult. One thing is for sure, producers, packers and processors cannot afford to be carrying these increases in cost of production for much longer and it needs to be recovered from further up the supply chain. The feedback from purchasers has been that they are aware of the situation but nobody wants to be the first to recognise these increased costs in terms of price increases to consumers. We plan to make a lot more noise about this over the coming weeks and are looking at working with the pig sector and other trade associations to maximise coverage of the issue.

outbreak was high with AI on the front pages of national papers for over 50 day in a row during the first nine weeks. In Mexico there are no contingency plans for dealing with an outbreak and no compensation for producers. However, the national poultry association and local producers met with government early on and entered discussions about the options open to them. Vaccines were not available straight away so the producers decided that they would depopulate flocks in the affected areas and vaccinate once the vaccine was available (about five-six weeks after the outbreak began). Up until 10 September the unofficial figure for laying hens that had died or been culled stood at 25 million (17 per cent of the national flock) but it was reported that the situation was now under control. One hundred per cent of Mexico’s egg production is in cages and they were 100 per cent self-sufficient in egg. Eggs represent an affordable protein source for consumers in a country where 40-50 million people live in poverty. The level of consumption is high at 358 shell eggs per person per year compared to the UK’s 146. With such a huge loss of birds there is now a shortage of egg and prices have reached

It was a reality check – we must never become complacent about AI

all time highs making them too expensive for most of the consumers. The market is largely expected to be back to previous levels by May 2013. There were some indications from the presenters that their industry needed to look at how it operates. They didn’t elaborate and I am unaware of what biosecurity measure these farms may have in place but I guess best practice and contingency planning may have helped reduce the impact of the outbreak. The estimated cost to industry is $860 million. I think the closing remarks of the presenters summed it up: “be careful Avian Influenza is a dangerous thing”. I have to say it was a reality check – we must never become complacent about AI.

Cabinet reshuffle Finally, I should mention the Cabinet reshuffle. After over two years since the formation of the coalition in May 2010 – an unusually long period of stability in ministerial appointments -– David Cameron chose the return from the Parliamentary summer recess to shuffle his pack. This saw Owen Paterson replace Caroline Spelman as Secretary of State for food environment and rural affairs and liberal democrat David Heath replacing Jim Paice as the Minister for Agriculture. The NFU officeholders met both in the third week of September and the NFU Poultry Board and team look forward to working with Defra’s new ministers moving forward.

AI rears its head again You may have picked up on reports that on 20 June this year Mexico confirmed it had an outbreak of H7N3 highly pathogenic Avian Influenza. At the IEC two Mexican egg producer representatives presented on the impact that this outbreak had on the poultry industry. The outbreak occurred in the Jalisco region of Mexico where 55 per cent of the country’s poultry is kept. The virus was highly aggressive and was wiping out whole farms in a matter of days. Media coverage of the

October • November 2012

NFU POULTRY FORUM

7


Focus on poultry meat

Searching for Campylobacter resistance By Dr Fraser J Gormley, microbiologist, Aviagen Ltd

U

nderstanding the bacterial pathogen Campylobacter has never been more important as laboratory confirmed cases in the UK reach an all time high1. As a result of case under-reporting, the true number of infections is estimated to be approximately eight times greater than those reported and the resulting financial burden in the UK each year is around £500 million2. Given that Campylobacter is considered a ‘foodborne’ pathogen, advice given by the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) focuses on ensuring the bacteria are killed through effective cooking and good hygiene and not spread via cross contamination. The majority of infections in the human population occur irregularly and linked cases (outbreaks) are rare. Campylobacter may appear not to cause any effect for as much as seven days after ingestion by a person; therefore it is often difficult to detect the cause of illness. In the laboratory, the microbiological detection of Campylobacter is notoriously difficult, owing to its strict growth requirements and the means by which the organism is detected and cultured is not standardised. Furthermore, the variation in the bacteria’s appearance on microbiological media merely adds to this difficulty (see figure).

although it is thought that the bacteria may be introduced via carriers including humans and insects. The importance of biosecurity therefore cannot be overemphasised. Given the prevalence of Campylobacter within chicken, it is thought that reducing the number of bacteria within the birds will impact positively on the number of human infections. Outbreak investigations and molecular testing suggest that a large number of infections are linked to the chicken reservoir as whole3, 4. Poultry meat is one of the most commonly consumed meats in the developed and developing world and while it is thought that around 30 per cent of cases are linked to handling or consumption of broiler meat, the contributing factors include inadequate cooking and cross contamination within the domestic kitchen and food service sector. Campylobacter infections are therefore preventable through appropriate cooking of chicken meat and maintaining good hygiene practice when handling. In the UK, such advice and guidelines have continually been promoted by the FSA but little change in infection rates has been seen. Key research priorities in the UK for 2010-15 therefore not only target food hygiene initiatives but ‘onfarm’ interventions.

Importance of biosecurity

Protecting the food chain

Indentifying the source of human Campylobacter infection is challenging, not only because of the wide range of animal and environmental reservoirs but because of the poorly understood ways in which the bacteria circulate in the environment. It is well known that avian species including poultry provide ideal conditions for Campylobacter growth; and chicken caeca have been shown to harbour over 1,000,000,000 cells per gram of content without causing any harm to the bird. But how Campylobacter actually enters the poultry house is not well understood

Since 1992 Salmonella spp. has constituted the majority of UK foodborne outbreaks annually although a steady decline has reflected successful intervention measures undertaken in poultry flocks5. Preventing Campylobacter entering the food chain would be a major step forward in reducing infections in the human population; and while actions are underway at the farm level, other novel approaches are being explored. Aviagen are actively involved in learning more about Campylobacter shedding and transmission within flocks through routine

The microbiological detection of Campylobacter is notoriously difficult

9

NFU Poultry Forum

monitoring of breeder flocks as well as colonisation studies involving different broiler strains. In addition Aviagen and The Roslin Institute (Edinburgh) are working in partnership on a project funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) that aims to locate and understand the genes responsible for resistance to Campylobacter colonisation within chickens. The three-year project will unite expertise in avian genetics, genomics, immunology and bacteriology and will build upon previous collaborative research that has successfully identified regions of the chicken genome involved in resistance to Campylobacter. The project will take these findings a stage further, and aims to find natural genetic variation and possibly the actual genes responsible for preventing Campylobacter colonisation within the bird. If such work proves successful, the potential for selecting for resistance to colonisation in the future may provide a massive step forward in the fight against Campylobacter. References

1. H  ealth Protection Agency. Epidemiological data. Available at: www.hpa.org.uk/Topics/InfectiousDiseases/ InfectionsAZ/Campylobacter/EpidemiologicalData/ campyDataEw/ 2. Wheeler JG, Sethi D, Cowden JM, et al, on behalf of the Infectious Intestinal Disease Study Executive. Study of infectious intestinal disease in England: rates in the community, presenting to general ractice, and reported to national surveillance. BMJ 1999; 318: 1046–50. 3. Sheppard, S.K., Dallas, J.F., Strachan, N.J.C., MacRae, M., McCarthy, N.D., Wilson, D.J., Gormley, F.J., Falush, D., Ogden, I.D., Maiden, M.C.J., Forbes, K.J. 2009. Campylobacter Genotyping to Determine the Source of Human Infection. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 48:1072–1078. 4. European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Scientific Opinion on Quantification of the risk posed by broiler meat to human campylobacteriosis in the EU. 2010. EFSA Journal 8 (1): 1437. 5. European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The Community Summary Report on trends and sources of zoonoses, zoonotic agents and food-borne outbreaks in the European Union in 2008. Available at: www.efsa.europa. eu/en/efsajournal/pub/1496.htm

October • November 2012


Focus on poultry meat

Ever heard of a little village called Goosnargh? By NFU Food & Farming Adviser Aarun Naik

T

o those not in the know, the tiny village of Goosnargh in the North West of England might seem just another Lancashire village. Yet these humble surroundings have given birth to a Lancashire-branded product championed by some of the county’s most acclaimed chefs and one that now takes pride of place on the menus of many of the top restaurants in London and beyond – Goosnargh duck and chicken. Reg Johnson and his business partner brother, Bud Swarbrick, have been based at Swainson House farm in Goosnargh, Lancashire since the mid-1960s. Full of stories and an undying passion for what he does, spend an afternoon on the farm with Reg and it’s impossible to leave without feeling positive and inspired. To understand how this once traditional dairy farm has transformed itself into the exciting enterprise it is today you have to go back about 20 years ago. “At that time ‘diversification’ was the buzz word you would hear from the NFU and others in the industry,” Reg recalls. “As a result we started rearing stag turkeys for the hotel and catering trade and we also had at a stall at nearby Cleveleys market. Being out and about talking to chefs and customers among the general public exposed me to different ideas. It was different to being stuck on the farm where some weeks you would hardly talk to anyone from outside other than the milk tanker driver!” The turning point came when pioneering chef, Paul Heathcote, set up at the nearby Preston Marriot hotel – in those days known as Broughton Park. He had a vision of a menu dominated by

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NFU POULTRY FORUM

speciality local produce. In particular he was after an English corn-fed chicken that improved upon the well-known French equivalent. In response Reg and his brother, Bud, began to develop the famous corn-fed Goosnargh duck and chicken that is in such demand today. Paul Heathcote together with other luminaries such as Nigel Haworth at Lancashire’s Northcote Manor, were part of the local food renaissance at a time when French cuisine was the vogue of the culinary world and it wasn’t long before momentum naturally gathered. Legendary restaurateur Albert Roux was an early fan and spread the word. His son Michel now uses Goosnargh duck at his famous Michelin-starred Le Gavroche restaurant in London. Marco Pierre White became another famous fan and soon they were supplying the top brasseries across the captial. “This was the time when Marco Pierre was on fire. He had people like Gordon Ramsay working for him and was training loads of young chefs who eventually set up on their own. When they went their own way and became head chefs themselves they took with them a love of the quality British produce they had experienced,” says Reg. Today, Johnson and Swarbrick is a business that produces around 2,000 cornfed chicken and a further 2,500 ducks per week. Christmas time also sees the addition of geese and around 1,200 turkeys for the local market. Around 20 staff are employed across the enterprise with extra workers brought in at Christmas time. Birds are slow-grown with ducks processed at eight weeks; Chicken between eight to nine weeks. Whilst the business has been down

the free-range route, the challenges posed by constant disease pressure ultimately rendered the system unviable. The final straw was the devastation wrought by the brutal, freezing weather conditions around Christmas 2010. Reg explains: “It just became impractical and I believe we maintain taste and quality without compromising on welfare by housing the birds indoors.” Instead birds are housed at low stocking densities in large, airy, highceiling barns that provide plenty of natural light and natural ventilation. Feed is key. By formulating their own ration using a computerised, on-farm mixing plant they can ensure the feed ingredients are fresh and consistent. All poultry are processed direct on the farm in an innovatively customised plant. The longest the birds ever have to travel from shed to processing plant is nine minutes – reducing any possible stress and thereby improving taste and texture. Ducks are dry plucked and hung overnight with their insides intact to intensify the flavour. The customer base now extends to restaurants

October • November 2012


Focus on poultry meat

and hotels across England, which they are able to service with a mixture of their own overnight transport and use of couriers. Their own delivery vans still run into London twice a week. “That direct contact with the chefs is priceless,” Reg explains. Another prominent customer is Northern-based supermarket chain and supporter of regional food, Booths. The business shows no sign of slowing down despite the challenge of endless red tape and having to maintain margins in the face of ever escalating feed prices. “We’re virtually up to capacity with our bird numbers and so we plan to put more units up to extend the next growth. We’re also looking at wind turbines, especially to supply the power-hungry refrigeration units. We have the perfect wind velocity with currents rising gently from the Fylde coast up here toward the Lancashire fells.” They are also experimenting with rearing guinea fowl and offer a service processing rabbit, pigeon and other game on both small or large scale. When asked what he thinks is the secret of Johnson & Swarbrick’s success, Reg responds, “People always want better food. The popularity of TV chefs has meant that people are more aware of food now. There is certainly a bigger percentage that wants a quality product and is prepared to pay for that quality product. It’s hard to put our success all down to one factor.” Instead it’s perhaps all the little touches and attention to detail – the quality of feed, the slow growing system, attention to bird welfare, lack of stress during transport to slaughter, the special hanging process – that combine together to make the winning product. Reg sums it up simply: “It certainly has something that people with a palette notice. It’s all about the taste.” Having sampled the Goosnargh chicken – hot from the farm kitchen oven, moist flavoursome meat and deliciously crispy skin – I have to agree! Reg Johnson will be speaking at the NFU Autumn Turkey Meeting on Tuesday 16 October at Garstang Country Hotel & Golf Club, Garstang, Lancashire, PRE 1YE. If you wish to attend contact Aarun Naik on 01695 554 900 or email aarun.naik@nfu.org.uk

October • November 2012

ADVERTISMENT FEATURE

Aviagen launches new poultry management By Nick Spenceley, course director, Aviagen School school

T

his year, Aviagen launched its first Production Management School for customers based in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) The new school is aimed at Aviagen’s customers involved in the broiler industry in these regions and will complement and build on the experience of the existing well-established and highlyregarded customer education programmes that currently run in the US, China and Brazil. The first module was held at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh from 25 August to 1 September 2012 and focused on breeder management. It included a series of lectures, practical workshops and demonstrations, with presentations by a mix of Aviagen specialists and external experts. We were delighted to welcome students from 17 different countries to the module and they all made new friends and took away an increased understanding of the things they can do to improve breeding performance. A wide range of topics was discussed, including ventilation, nutrition, health and general management practices. We have been thrilled by the response to the new school and the students’ desire to take as much from the course as possible has helped make this inaugural session a success. It took months of planning and we are glad that this course was so well received by our students. We are taking student feedback on board as we look ahead to future modules. The second module will be held in Turkey between 29 October and 5 November 2012 and will focus on aspects of broiler management and the dynamics of the business aimed at maximising broiler and economic performance and cost per kg liveweight. With that knowledge it is easier to make informed decisions to improve performance and realise the full potential of a broiler flock. A further module on hatchery practice will take place in the Netherlands in Spring 2013. For further information, please speak to your Aviagen contact or email school@aviagen.com.

NFU POULTRY FORUM

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Focus on poultry meat

NFU Seasonal Turkey Survey – results and predictions

T

Regional price variations 2011

he annual round of seasonal turkey market meetings are well underway around free-range Average polebarn Average free-range butcherAverage and farmgate pricesbutcher and farmgate prices Average polebarn butcher and farmgate pricesbutcher and farmgate the country and at each one the Free-range butcher£/kg Free-range farmgate Free-range butcher Free-range farmgate £/kg £/kg Polebarn butcher Polebarn farmgate £/kg Polebarn butcher Polebarn farmgate proceedings will include a discussion 12.0 12.0 10.0 10.0 about costs of production and the 10.0 10.0 upcoming market, prompted by the 10.2 10.2 8.8 8.8 8.0 8.0 results of the NFU survey. 8.0 8.9 8.9 8.0 8.0 8.5 8.5 8.4 8.4 7 7.2 7.2 7.2 6.0 7.6 We don’t have the space 7.6 to include 6.7 6.0 6.6 6.7 6.6 7.0 6.1 6.9 7.0 6.0 6.1 6.9 6.0 6.7 6.7 6.5 5.8 5.7 6.5 6.5 5.8 5.7 5.7 all the survey data on these pages 6.5 5.4 5.4 5.0 5.0 5.5 5.5 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.0 but can give you a flavour of some of the results. 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 The 2012 survey was conducted 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 during the latter part of July and Anglian West North NorthWest East East Anglia Wal Anglian West North NorthWest East East Anglia Wales North West Anglian South West North East East Anglia South Wales Anglian South West North East East Anglia South Wales association association association associationand early August, when the market feed prices particularly were rather Source: Turkey Meetings 2011 different to now. Thirty-two seasonal turkey producers across the country responded to the survey with more than 70 per cent producing in the Hen costs as of Sept 2012 range of up to 2,000 birds and the rest Hen Costs 2011 Actual 2012 Projected % change producing between 2,001 and 10,000 plus birds. The meetings will highlight Poult costs 4.19 4.39 4.80% — the impact of rising prices between July Feed - Starter 0.38 0.44 15.50% — and September but on these pages we Feed - Grower 1.14 1.44 26.10% — are showing just the revised higher feed Feed - Finisher 5.37 6.23 16.00% — price costings.

Costings

Labour costs (plucking & evisceration)

5.56

5.78

3.90%

—

Packing costs

0.56

0.6

7.20%

—

Overheads

1.45

1.52

4.80%

—

Disposal costs (dead stock, offal & feathers)

0.37

0.39

5.40%

—

Other costs (gas, litter etc.)

1.6

1.76

10.10%

—

20.63

22.55

9.30%

—

Stag Costs

2011 Actual

2012 Projected

% change

Poult costs

2.25

2.39

5.80%

—

Feed - Starter

0.93

1.06

15.50%

—

Feed - Grower

1.54

1.94

26.10%

—

Feed - Finisher

9.74

11.3

16.00%

—

Labour costs (plucking & evisceration)

5.56

5.78

3.90%

—

Packing costs

0.56

0.6

7.20%

—

Overheads

1.45

1.52

4.80%

—

Disposal costs (dead stock, offal & feathers)

0.37

0.39

5.40%

—

Other costs (gas, litter etc.)

1.6

1.76

10.10%

—

24.01

26.76

11.40%

—

Poult placement There was an increase of just over three per cent year on year with the growth driven by an increase in stag numbers by 6.5 per cent but hen placements were also up by two per cent

Production systems In terms of Bronze birds there were very slight changes in placements. Birds placed for organic production were up from 13 to 14 per cent, indoor birds were up to 38 per cent from 37 per cent and free range birds placed down to 48 per cent this year as opposed to 50 per cent in 2011. White birds showed, significantly, none placed this year for organic production whereas there was three per cent in 2011. Placement for free range went down from 27 per cent to just 18 per cent and indoor white birds were increased to 82 per cent from 70 per cent in 2011. Output by market type is very similar with 73 per cent expected to be sold ‘oven ready’. Sales by market type indicate 36.2 per cent will go via the butchers, 16.4 per cent to wholesalers, 37.5 per cent direct sales and 9.9 per cent other routes.

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NFU Poultry Forum

Total costs

Stag costs as of Sept 2012

Total costs

Survey highlights

94

%

of day old poults were purchased from the UK

77

%

of respondents used dry plucking method in 2011

54

%

use carcass bags as packaging and the rest use boxes

36

%

of those, only 36 per cent use branded boxes

October • November 2012


g n i t ee M g n i t ke ar M g n i y t g ke ee n i Autumn Turkey Marketing Meetings 2012 t ur M ee T g M n i t g n ke i t ar ke M M ar g y n M i g t ke n i y ke t ur ke ee ar T M M Tur g y n i t ke ke ur T ar n M M m g u y n t i t u ke ke A ar Tur M y ke ur T n m u t Au Date

Autumn Turkey Marketing Meetings 2012

Time meat Focus on poultry

Region

Venue & Sponsors

Contact

Tues 11th Sept

No Region

Anglian Turkey Association, Prested Hall, Feering, Nr Kelvedon, Essex C05 9EE

Len Goodman 01621 815 740

8.00pm

Weds 26th Sept

South East

Wessex Turkey Association, Wellow Golf Club, Romsey, Hampshire SO51 6BD Sponsored by BOCM Pauls

James Osman 01730 711 950

7.30pm

Tues 2nd Oct

South East

Bell Inn, Godstone, Surrey RH9 8DX Sponsored by BOCM Pauls

James Osman 01730 711 950

7.30pm

Tues 2nd Oct

East Anglia

Cornwallis Arms Hotel, Brome nr Eye, Suffolk IP23 8AJ Sponsored by BOCM Pauls

Alex Butler-Zagni 01638 672 114

7.30pm

Thurs 4th Oct Date Thurs11 4thth Oct Tues Sept

East Anglia Region North East No Region

Tilsworth Golf Club, Tilsworth, Bedfordshire LU7 9PY Sponsored by W & H Marriage & Sons Venue & Sponsors The NewTurkey Wheatsheaf, Altofts Lane, Hall, Wakefield, WF10 5PZ Anglian Association, Prested Feering, Nr Kelvedon, Essex C05 9EE Sponsored by Kelly’s Turkeys

7.30pm Time 7.30pm 8.00pm

th th Mon Sept Weds826Oct

Wales East South

The Forge, St Clears, Camarthenshire SA33 4NA Wessex Turkey Association, Wellow Golf Club, Romsey, Hampshire SO51 6BD Sponsored by by BOCM BOCM Pauls Pauls Sponsored

Alex Butler-Zagni 01638 672 114 Contact Richard Potts Len Goodman 01904 01621 451 815 568 740 AndreaOsman Witcombe James 01982 711 554 950 209 01730

nd th Oct Weds210 Oct Tues

East Midlands South East South West East Anglia

th Oct Mon Thurs15 4th Oct

NorthAnglia West East

Carol JamesPuddephatt Osman 01572 01730 824 711 259 950 Alex Alex Stevens Butler-Zagni 01392 01638 440 672 700 114 Aarun Naik Alex Butler-Zagni 01695 672 554 114 900 01638

7.30pm 7.30pm

nd th Oct Mon Oct Tues 215

th Oct Tues 16 Thurs 4th Oct

West Midlands North East

Cosby Golf Club, Chapel Bell Inn, Godstone, SurreyLane RH9Off 8DXBroughton Road, Cosby, Leicestershire LE9 1RG Sponsored Sponsored by by Lloyds BOCM Animal Pauls Feeds Exeter GolfArms & Country Countess Wear, Exceter EX2 7AE Cornwallis Hotel,Club, Brome nr Eye, Suffolk IP23 8AJ Sponsored Sponsored by by Kelly’s BOCM Turkeys Pauls Heyrose Golf , Budworth Tabley, Knutsford, Tilsworth GolfClub Club, Tilsworth, Road, Bedfordshire LU7 9PY Cheshire WA16 0HZ Sponsored by by W BOCM Sponsored & H Pauls Marriage & Sons Old Court Hotel, Symonds Yat,Lane, Ross Wakefield, on Wye, Herefordshire The New Wheatsheaf, Altofts WF10 5PZ HR9 6MA Sponsored by by Kelly’s BOCM Turkeys Pauls Sponsored

Jeremy Lowe Richard Potts 01952 451 409 568 243 01904

7.30pm 7.30pm

th Oct Tues 16 Mon 8th Oct

North West Wales

Garstang Hotel & Golf Club, Bowgreave The Forge,Country St Clears, Camarthenshire SA33 4NA Drive, Garstang, Lancahire PRE 1YE Sponsored by by BOCM BOCM Pauls Pauls Sponsored

Aarun Naik Andrea Witcombe 01695 554 554 209 900 01982

7.30pm 7.30pm

Weds 10th Oct

East Midlands

Cosby Golf Club, Chapel Lane Off Broughton Road, Cosby, Leicestershire LE9 1RG Sponsored by Lloyds Animal Feeds

Carol Puddephatt 01572 824 259

7.30pm

Mon 15th Oct

South West

Exeter Golf & Country Club, Countess Wear, Exceter EX2 7AE Sponsored by Kelly’s Turkeys

Alex Stevens 01392 440 700

7.30pm

Mon 15th Oct

North West

Heyrose Golf Club , Budworth Road, Tabley, Knutsford, Cheshire WA16 0HZ Sponsored by BOCM Pauls

Aarun Naik 01695 554 900

7.30pm

Tues 16th Oct

West Midlands

Old Court Hotel, Symonds Yat, Ross on Wye, Herefordshire HR9 6MA

Jeremy Lowe

7.30pm

Tues 16 Oct

North West

Garstang Country Hotel & Golf Club, Bowgreave Drive, Garstang, Lancahire PRE 1YE

Aarun Naik

7.30pm

by BOCM Pauls NFU promotional ChristmasSponsored packaging  255-12TL UK Turkey Meetings Flyer.indd 2 th

Sponsored bypackaging. BOCM PaulsThe Don’t forget to order all your Christmas promotional range was expanded and updated last year and includes great posters, consumer leaflets, carrier bags, labels, different size turkey boxes, gift tags and carcass bags.

7.30pm 7.30pm

7.30pm 7.30pm

7.30pm 7.30pm

01952 409 243 Turkey Exchange – 01621 815740

23/07/2012 13:46

01695 554 900 Order forms will be available at all the autumn turkey marketing meetings, or you can phone orders through to Ed Dingle on Tel: 01584 861401 or you can order online at www.nfuonline. com/turkeyboxes

Turkey meeting endorses NFU survey findings

255-12TL UK Turkey Meetings Flyer.indd 2

23/07/2012 13:46

The 11th of September saw the first autumn turkey marketing meeting of 2012. The Anglian Turkey Association hosted the first meeting at Prested Hall in Essex. Around 60 turkey producers came to listen to three speakers including turkey producer Ed Walters and Chris Dickinson from the NFU. Ed Walters a turkey producer from Berkshire kicked of the proceedings by giving an insight in to how his Christmas turkey enterprise works. He grows around 9,000 turkeys at Christmas producing white, bronze and organic turkeys. He also provided some interesting commentary about the strengths and weaknesses of the farm mill and mix operation. Following Ed came the annual results of the NFU seasonal turkey costing’s survey. The survey revealed that the cost of producing a Christmas turkey has risen by around 10 per cent in comparison to last year. This has been driven by higher feed costs due to the adverse weather conditions seen around the world leading to significant falls in yield and output of key agricultural commodities. The general consensus at the meeting was that this was an accurate representation of production conditions this year.

www.ukturkeys.co.uk The NFU turkey website will be up and running from the second week in October with its ‘turkey finder’ section where consumers can search for local turkey suppliers by inputting their postcode, an ‘in the kitchen’ area where viewers can find cooking advice, a ‘fun for the kids’ section and a ‘meet the farmers’ area which showcases some of

October • November 2012

our great NFU seasonal poultry producers. If you want to be listed as a producer in the ‘find a turkey’ area on the website get in touch with Chris Dickinson with your contact details soon. It’s a free service for NFU members. Telephone: 024 7685 8622, email: chris.dickinson@nfu. org.uk

NFU Poultry Forum

13


Focus on poultry meat

By Brian Finnerty, regional communications adviser, NFU East Anglia

M

ark Gorton describes it as his ‘eureka’ moment. Over the last 25 years he and friend David Garner have built up Traditional Norfolk Poultry from an enterprise selling just 12 turkeys at Christmas to a business processing 50,000 chickens a week and operating more than 30 farms across the East of England. Part of the success has been built on sales of Norfolk Black turkeys, reputedly the oldest turkey breed in Britain and endorsed by celebrity chefs including Jamie Oliver, Rick Stein and Delia Smith. “I thought we had this great breed of high-welfare turkey – why couldn’t we have a Norfolk Black chicken as well? I talked about it with David and we agreed it was a really good idea,” said Mark. “Introducing a new breed of chicken hasn’t been done for a long time, certainly in my career, and it’s a very exciting development.” Three years of research and development later and the newly-trademarked Norfolk Black free range chicken is poised to make its debut in selected Sainsbury’s stores, as well as on hotel and restaurant menus. “Firstly, we looked at what we wanted to achieve – a black, free-range chicken grown within a high welfare system that had to be tasty as well. We wanted a speciality chicken that people would recognise as the best and be prepared to pay a little more for,” said Mark. “I went across Europe, talking to different breeding companies and researching this. Eventually, we came up with two breeds that we crossed to create the Norfolk Black. We have completed all the trials, from growing and taste trials to even developing the most suitable feed. “It was originally bred in France and we brought the eggs over here to hatch but now we have our own breeder flocks on the ground

Poultry firm going back to black

and we are ready for commercial production.” Mark and David have always seen innovation, hard work and high standards as the cornerstone of their business. When they first started out Mark ran a smallholding but neither had any experience of poultry farming. “We were looking for something to do to earn some money and decided to grow some turkeys. We started off with 12 and then kept doubling the numbers, moving into growing chickens as well and selling them to local butchers and other outlets,” he said. “Right from the start we wanted to produce high welfare, free range poultry. A lot of the things we introduced then, lots of light, perches and environmental enrichments, were

unheard of but we did them as a matter of course. The fact we were growing speciality poultry for the free range and organic markets was quite different to the intensive poultry farming that was taking place 25 years ago.” They use different growing systems for their chickens, including corn fed, woodland and organic, with flock sizes ranging from about 10,000 to 50,000 birds. All the poultry is Freedom Food approved and they operate under the Red Tractor assurance scheme. “We supply many of the major retailers now but we’re still maintaining our original beliefs in speciality chicken and poultry. Everything we do is with free range, slow-growing breeds and we still do things our own way,” said Mark.

Growing business seeks more farmers Traditional Norfolk Poultry employs about 100 people, including a fulltime welfare officer, but Mark Gorton believes the business could double if the Norfolk Black chicken proves a success. There are already plans to expand its 35,000 sq ft processing centre and they are looking for more farms across East Anglia that they can work with. At the moment about half their farms are under their direct control, with the others rearing their poultry under contract. “We desperately need more growers because of the new Norfolk Black chicken. We need people to grow chicken for us and help us build our business,” said Mark. “We want to develop the brand into areas such as the Norfolk Black chicken sandwich or Norfolk Black chicken pie. The potential is colossal.

October • November 2012

It’s taken a lot of work and a long time to get to this stage but it could be our big break. “We are looking for existing free range enterprises, either free range poultry or eggs, who may be interested in setting up a new enterprise with us. We don’t have a fixed package, we’re flexible, and we can tailormake contracts around a farm’s requirements. “If someone is interested we’d encourage them to pick up the phone and then come and meet us. They can see what we’re doing here and make up their own minds.” More information on the company is available on its website, www. tnpltd.com

NFU Poultry Forum

14


Focus on Poultry Meat

Red Tractor goes for duck Supermarket shoppers will be able to buy Red Tractor assured duck for the first time, after Gressingham was awarded the food standard in September. Managing director William Buchanan said: “As a family business that has been going for 40 years it is incredibly important for us to keep improving in every area of what we do and Red Tractor Assurance is affirmation of this.” David Clarke, CEO of Red Tractor said: “We are delighted that Gressingham is using the Red Tractor logo to demonstrate its commitment to quality food and farming. This move will mean that consumers will be able to buy Red Tractor approved duck for the first time ever.” Gressingham supplies both the retail and food service sectors.

October • November 2012

NFU to launch ‘Turkey for troops’ campaign The NFU has teamed up with the Ministry of Defence for the ‘Turkey for Troops’ campaign. This will see around 50 turkeys being donated by farmers and given to sick and wounded people from the armed forces. The NFU had hoped to run the campaign last year but there was not enough time to organise logistics. But this year organisation began early and last month representatives of the NFU met staff from the MOD to organise how the campaign will work. The farmers who donated birds last year will be contacted and asked if they would like to be involved again, the aim is to have every region represented. The first delivery will take place in early December to maximise media coverage and the other deliveries will be coordinated throughout December. The turkeys will be delivered to sites that include the Royal Hospital Chelsea, Hedley Court and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. To find out more information about the campaign contact NFU poultry adviser Chris Dickinson on 024 7685 8622.

NFU POULTRY FORUM

15


Focus on poultry meat

Seldom Seen Farm, home of the famous three-bird roast By Carol Puddephatt, policy adviser, NFU East Midlands

B

e careful what you wish for at Christmas, things may never be the same again as Claire Symington found out after suggesting to husband, Robert, “A pair of geese on the pond would be nice.” Robert had to buy 28 more geese as they turned up crammed into a van with the two on order. Robert and Claire fattened them and gave them to friends for Christmas. The rest, as they say, is history. Twenty-four years later they now fatten 5,000 geese and 750 turkeys on their farm set in the hills of Leicestershire; selling them to loyal customers from their own farm shop and other local farm shops, butchers and restaurants. Seldom Seen birds also find their way across Britain via a mail order firm in London and through Marks & Spencer. So, how did they achieve success? Claire suggests the harder they work the luckier they get but, it’s clear, attention to detail has driven their success. In a blind consumer tasting, all bar one taster chose Robert & Claire’s turkeys. Robert puts this down to the fact that their birds are truly free range, this and a special finishing technique. Using sound judgement, developed over many years growing birds,

October • November 2012

Robert’s grass-fed birds are switched over from their normal diet, up to two weeks before slaughter, onto plain wheat rather than withdrawal pellets: thus the birds are kept a little hungrier and put on more fat which produces breast meat more like leg meat, with marbling. Robert has effectively banished the dry turkey breast! In 2001 Robert and Claire’s products came to the attention of Rick Stein and Marks & Spencer (M&S) who were both looking for small food producers with a difference. Goose was a new thing back then. Their three-bird roast cornered the market after featuring on the Richard & Judy Show. Food journalists wrote one article after another. Their phone rang off the hook. Robert and Claire were there at the right time and grew their business as the market grew. The marketplace for three-bird roast grew as the economy flourished. M&S is hugely supportive as Seldom Seen Farm fits into its small food company business model. M&S audits the farm to Food Standard Agency standards without putting the farm through the rigours of inspections faced by a large firm. And M&S personnel work alongside Robert on the production line and in the labour rota, constantly on hand to iron out unforeseen problems, as deadlines loom. M&S is also happy to listen to Robert and Claire’s concerns regarding increased costs of production. Their business is not recession proof. The value added market is likely to drop off first in any recession but to date goose sales continue to be a growth area for M&S. And if there is any secret ingredient to successful seasonal poultry production, Robert identifies careful planning as a major factor to avoid technical or practical hiccups for a seasonal producer. For more information about Seldom Seen Farm go to www.seldomseenfarm.co.uk or T: 0116 259 6742

ADVERTISMENT FEATURE

Delivering on a promise E

vonik Industries, the creative industrial group from Germany, is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. Its activities focus on the key megatrends health, nutrition, resource efficiency and globalization. Profitable growth and a sustained increase in the value of the company form the heart of Evonik benefits specifically from its innovative prowess and integrated technology platforms. Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world. Evonik produces feed additives at six locations in five countries and is the only company in the world to manufacture and market from a single source all four of the important amino acids for animal nutrition: • MetAMINO® • Biolys® (L-lysine) • ThreAMINO® (L-threonine) • TrypAMINO® (L-tryptophan) Mepron® a rumen-protected DLMethionine and CreAMINO® a feed additive for broiler completes the company’s product range. We deliver reliable quality backed by decades of experience and continuous innovation of our products and services. At Evonik, our focus is on maximizing the nutritional value of our feed additives by putting the essential building blocks of protein better to work for you. We believe that with competence comes responsibility – to you and your bottom line. That’s why you get more than improved nutritional value. You get the added value of decades of expertise that makes your processes more efficient, your quality more consistent, and your operation more environmentally sustainable. We understand that your reputation is built on reliability, too. That is why ensuring consistency and reliability in both the quality and the supply of our products is at the centre of the way we do things at Evonik. It comes from a long-standing tradition of delivering on a promise.

NFU POULTRY FORUM

17


Feed market report

Musings from the mill Perfect storm In 2009, Professor Beddington used the term ‘perfect storm’ to describe food shortages, scarce water and insufficient energy resources which threatened to unleash public unrest, cross-border conflicts and mass migration. If one considers the subsequent Arab Spring, he was absolutely correct. Three years later, we have yet another perfect storm: a price spike due to a double soya crop failure in North and South America; multiple cereal crop failures in North American maize, Black Sea wheat and potential wheat losses in Australia. In the spring South America lost some 20mt soya. Now some 50mt of maize has been lost in the US, and the damage to the US soya crop has yet to be determined. The cereal exports from the Black Sea area are expected to dry up in the next few months. So we need bumper crops of Australian wheat in November/December, and South American soya in February/March to bail us all out. Unfortunately both areas are dry, and the ‘get out of jail free card’ is potentially lost with all the other cards that are up in the air.

By Paul Poornan, Humphrey Feeds Ltd.

can ration themselves to 4mt of soya/month, then the world will still run out of soya. If they could dip into their reserves of 10mt and limit their purchases to 3mt/month, then the world would have sufficient soya to last until the South American harvest in February/March. Food supplies have never been so tight when viewed against world population.

Bushel

In the UK, we have our own unique problems. In mid-August we had a phone call from a grain trader who warned us that all the correlation; that the lower the bushel weight UK wheat was ‘crap’. They the lower the starch (and starch in cereals had analysed several hundred is a key component of its energy). The worst samples from all over the UK, and result so far is 40 bushel! We have had some 50 per cent was below 68 bushel. numerous discussions with the grain trade, The following day we had exactly and from the monogastric feed compounder’s the same conversation with viewpoint the salient points are: • F eedmillers do not buy wheat, they another trader who used the buy starch; word ‘crap’. Apart from the • L ow bushel wheat means low starch, gravity of the news, in a which means low energy; lighter-hearted moment, • T hat energy has to be replaced by we wondered about the Demand If the supply is squeezed, other cereals, confectionary waste or etymology of the word perhaps the demand can vegetable oil; ‘crap’. The word originally  eeding less energy to broilers means that be reduced to compensate? meant ‘chaff’ and first appears • F they grow more slowly; and layers lay There has been much in Latin as ‘crapinum’ in the smaller eggs in lower numbers; discussion about the 40 per Laws of Henry I, c1115, •W  heat is only ‘high protein’ cent of the US maize used (in a a treatise of the laws Normal because it is measured in per normal year) to make bioethanol, and customs of Anglo (left) and cent, and because there is no and pressure has been applied Saxon England. Its shrivelled starch (NFE), so by default to reduce the ethanol mandate. next Latin appearance (right) grain protein is higher; However, the biofuel process leaves is ‘crappa’ in c1290, cut in half • F eedmillers do not buy behind a residue that is sold as and then finally in soya, they buy essential Dried Distillers Grains (DDGS) – a Middle English, c1375 amino acids (protein itself protein source – to feed livestock. If as ‘crap’, meaning is less relevant); and there is less DDGS, then livestock ‘residue of grain trodden • T he essential amino acid levels producers will have to use more underfoot in a barn, or Normal in wheat are irrelevant when soya; and there is not enough soya chaff’. So the use of the compared to soya. available to replace the DDGS. Many feedlot word ‘crap’ is apposite for low bushel (left) and shrivelled The low bushel wheat also has farms depending on their own maize to feed wheat. The relationship between (right) grain much wider effects: the UK futures livestock, are selling cattle because of their bushel and starch content is well market is based on 72.5 bushel, so crop failure, so there is slightly less demand known, but because we have never that this will become an illiquid because of less mouths to feed. Overall, we had a year where the quality was market for trading and pricing see cereal prices continuing to rise until its so crap, there is no data about the purposes; the contractual problems price finally rations demand from both feed energy levels of sub-68 bushel are legion between arable farmers and fuel. Unusually, the EU has reviewed wheat. Subsequently we have and the grain trade, and between the food/feed debate, and is in the process been searching for samples of poor the grain trade and flour and feed of backtracking on the use of food to make quality wheat ranging from 50 to 68 millers. Unfortunately this will be a year biofuel. In terms of soya, the Chinese use bushel and have sent more than 100 wheat to remember, or rather a year to forget – a about 60mt per annum, or 5mt per month. samples for starch analysis, and the results perfect storm. Soya supplies are so tight, that if the Chinese are starting to come back, confirming the

October • November 2012

NFU Poultry Forum

19


Edition 42 – October-November 2012

BUSINESS BRIEF Table 1: Cage egg costs per dozen

Commentary Prices in world grain markets have stabilised in August and in early September after strong rises in July. This slight stabilisation is reflected in our costing results for feed to some degree. However, as more information on yields and quality of the US harvest is fed to the marketplace, and this is playing a larger part in influencing price movements on a daily basis. The general view is that wheat yields are below expectation. Despite the fact that the 2012 UK wheat harvest is now more than 90 per cent complete, uncertainty over production is widespread as there is no clarity and consensus over yields or quality of the wheat crop. According to our survey results, between this and our last issue cage feed costs have fallen by just over one per cent, free-range by 0.7 per cent and broiler by 0.9 per cent respectively. It is worth mentioning that the survey respondants may have some feed cover although we do know some producers are buying on a monthly basis. In contrast, pullet prices for cage and free-range both increased by over two per cent compared with August 2012. Labour costs have increased across all categories in line with earnings data from Office of National Statistics. Similarly other costs such as rent and building depreciations have also seen a rise. In contrast, general costs recorded a decline due to relatively lower energy and water costs.

Issue month

Layer variable costs

Details

Price

Layer Feed – non GM (£/tonne)

Pre lay

£309.00

Early lay

£297.00

Mid lay

£288.00

End lay Pre lay

£283.00 £297.00

Early lay

£285.00

Mid lay

£275.00

End lay

£270.00

Chick Starter

£290.00

Pullet Grower

£270.00

Cage

£3.90

Free Range

£4.05

Chick price per chick 2 x rispens vaccine + infa red beak trim End of lay cost per bird

20

NFU POULTRY FORUM

2.7% -1.1%

vet. med

0.2p

0.2p

0.0%

labour2

6.9p

7.2p

4.4%

general costs3 other costs4

2.4p 5.1p

2.2p 5.3p

-7.4% 4.2%

total costs

76.2p

76.4p

0.3%

historical feed conversion rates from FBS data has been used labour costs include contracted labour costs 3 general costs include; energy; water; professional and bank fees; and road tax 4 other costs include; rent; building depreciation and repairs 2

Table 2: Free range egg costs per dozen Issue month

Aug-12

Oct-12

Change

pullets feed1

17.3p 52.4p

17.7p 52.0p

2.3% -0.7%

vet. med

0.9p

0.9p

0.0%

labour

11.5p

12.0p

4.6%

general costs3 other costs4

4.0p 8.6p

3.7p 8.9p

-7.5% 3.0%

total costs

94.7p

95.2p

0.5%

historical feed conversion rates from FBS data has been used 2 labour costs include contracted labour costs 3 general costs include; energy; water; professional and bank fees; and road tax 4 other costs include; rent; building depreciation and repairs 1

Table 3: Broiler meat costs per kg Issue month

Layer costs spot price

Pullet – 16 weeks per bird

Change

15.3p 46.2p

2

There has been a slight reduction in layer feed rations since July. Although prices are still very high, prices have dropped by a couple of pounds each since July. The high feed prices in the first half of the year have caused an increase in the point of lay pullet price with free range birds going over the four pound per bird barrier. The market for end of lay hens remains strong and has seen a slight increase. From our market research broiler ration prices have marginally reduced. This is because new crop wheat has entered the market and the price of soya has finally started to fall, although the feed market seems to be offering little sign of significant reductions. There has been no change in the price of as hatched chicks since July.

Rearing feed – non GM (£/tonne)

Oct-12

14.9p 46.7p

1

Spot price analysis

Layer Feed – GM (£/tonne)

Aug-12

pullets feed1

Excluding catching

68p 38p

Aug-12

Oct-12

Change

chick feed1

16.7p 54.4p

16.7p 53.9p

0.0% -0.9%

vet. med

0.9p

0.9p

0.0%

labour2

1.7p

1.8p

8.8%

general costs3 other costs4

4.0p 7.2p

3.7p 7.5p

-7.7% 3.6%

84.8p

84.4p

-0.5%

total costs

historical feed conversion rates from FBS data has been used 2 labour costs include contracted labour costs 3 general costs include; energy; water; professional and bank fees; and road tax 4 other costs include; rent; building depreciation and repairs Note: figures may not total due to rounding 1

Broiler costs spot price Broiler variable costs

Details

Price

Broiler Feed (£/tonne)

Starter

£361.00

Grower

£346.00

Finisher

£333.00

Withdrawl

£325.00

Chick price per chick As hatched

36p

Prices taken for week commencing 17/09/2012 Source - Industry representatives

October • November 2012


October-November 2012 – Edition 42

Positive growth in poultrymeat output

Positive growth in poultrymeat output

In the first six month of 2012, total production of all poultry Positive growth in poultrymeat output meat in the UK increased by 3.8 per cent year on year, according to the latest data released by Defra. This growth is in line with the recent higher chick and poult placings and the tendency for higher slaughter weights so far this year. Both broiler chick placings and turkey poult placings have risen almost every single month in 2012 and in the first half of the year broiler chick placings were over two per cent higher compared with the corresponding period in 2011. Similarly, turkey poults also recorded an increase in the first six months, up almost six per cent compared with same period a year ago. This upward trend in both chick and poult placings continued well into July 2012, with broiler numbers increasing by three per cent compared with July 2011. This meant that extra 12 million broiler chicks were placed in the first seven months of the year compared with the corresponding period last year. Meanwhile, turkey poults placing in July 2012 were considerably higher year on year and the turkey sector placed extra 800,000 or over eight per cent more poults in seven months to July 2012 than that recorded a year ago. Given the rise in both placings and slaughter weights, broiler and turkey meat production increased in the first seven months of this year. Broiler production was two per cent higher, while turkey production recorded a significant increase of 21 per cent compared with equivalent period in 2011. In terms of consumption trends, demand for poultrymeat in the UK continues to be buoyant relative to other proteins as sales have been the most resilient to the poor economic situation. The data from Knatar Worldpanel showed a four per cent rise in the household purchases of fresh and frozen poultry in volume terms in the 52-week period ended 2 September 2012. In addition, statistics from Defra showed that UK per capita consumption of turkey meat increased by almost 20 per cent to 0.74kg per head in the first quarter of the year compared with 0.62 kg in the corresponding period last year. The strong growth in turkey consumption is driven partly due to more shelf space allocation for turkey products combined with increased promotional activities at a retail level.

Retail snapshot Eggs Asda has marginally increased its price for caged eggs after having had them on promotion in July. There has been little change in the price of free range eggs in any of the supermarkets featured, free range eggs remain in slight oversupply with some cascading down in to the value egg market. However reports are the market is tightening. There has been no sign of any price increases coming down the supply chain to represent the substantial increase in the cost of production which producers have seen.

Price Comparison for Eggs per egg Value – Cage (15 pack)

Own brand FR Large (12 pack)

Happy Eggs Med (6 pack)

Tesco

10.00

23.20

29.20

Asda

10.00

23.20

29.20

Sainsburys

10.50

23.20

29.20

Ocado

21.70

23.20

32.50

Aldi

8.33

16.50

Supermarkets

Note Sainsburys: Value = Barn (18 pack) Ocado: Value = FR (9 pack) Aldi: FR is a 6 pack

Chicken Retail prices for chicken have remained relatively stable since July. Both Asda and Tesco have marginally increased their value chicken price. The retail market is currently tight although the wholesale price featured in our business bulletin email has dropped by around 10 pence over the last two weeks.

Price Comparison for Chicken per kg Supermarkets Value Free range Organic Tesco

£2.29

£4.99

£5.99

Asda

£2.07

£3.58

£5.48

Sainsburys

£2.14

£4.99

£6.02

Ocado

£2.19

£4.75

£6.39

Aldi

£2.05

£3.33

Sources www.mysupermarket.co.uk www.aldi.co.uk/uk/ Snapshot relating to week commencing 16/07/2012

NFU Copyright: The material in this report is copyright and may not be reproduced in whole or part without the permission of the NFU. Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this Poultry Costings the NFU and the author accepts no responsibility for any errors contained herein. Acknowledgements: In compiling this report we are extremely grateful to NFU members, BFREPA and industry colleagues for their comments and guidance. We also acknowledge the information provided by the NFU Food Chain and Farm Policy Unit and Economics team.

October • November 2012

NFU POULTRY FORUM

21


Feed market report

UK harvest report Guy Gagen, the NFU’s chief arable adviser, comments on the impact of exceptionally poor weather May-July on this year’s wheat crop

D

espite global volatility, UK headline wheat prices have maintained levels at around £200/tonne post-harvest 2012. Great – for arable farmers – you would be forgiven for thinking. However, this year is a bit more complicated. Since a winding back by the EU in its management of grain prices, most arable farmers don’t wait for harvest and sell a proportion of the crops forward. Generally in England wheat yields have not met expectation meaning a 60 per cent forward sale might end up at 75 per cent or more of the crop committed and at prices before harvest which were much lower than now, £140-£160, and at a specific weight of 72kg/100 litres.  With low yield has come low specific

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NFU Poultry Forum

weight, where usually the norm is for all the crop to be within ‘feed’ specification’ (livestock, starch, breakfast cereal, ethanol, export, other foods), in 2012 results are highly variable and according to survey data from AHDB, the majority appears to be below 72kg, and some well below. HGCA research (Project 260) has shown very low specific weight does not automatically mean reduced quality feed, although this year rations and milling will have to adjust, sometimes at a cost, for a consistent product. In many cases wheat moving off UK arable farms has traded at a very significant discount to the impressive headlines due to yield and below-contract specific weight analysis on much of the 2012 harvested crop. Grain above contract specification

is, unusually, attracting a premium over headline prices. The net impact to wheat growers is that the price they have been receiving for their ‘feed’ crops will vary even more widely than yield and specific weight results, with a range of between £100 – £200, depending on when the price was agreed and if claims have been taken (some have been deducting up to £40/tonne at intake). To protect crops from the wettest summer in living memory, arable farmers have spent more than ever on crop protection and costs of production tonne are probably at least £130/tonne this year. Delivering wheat to the right place at appropriate quality is proving hard work for everybody on the grain side of the chain this season. NFU continues to actively work with farmers processors and the trade to ensure a differentiated market so suitable homes may be found for varying parcels of grain from individual farms and regions.  This will help ensure the best is made of British wheat and ensure cost of feed is not pushed up unnecessarily.   Connect on Twitter: @AgricPolicy

October • November 2012


NFU policy issues update

Welfare of laying hens directive By Kelly Watson, NFU Chief Poultry Adviser

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n June the European Commission sent a reasoned opinion to ten member states that had failed to correctly implement the Welfare of Laying Hens Directive (WLHD) and still had hens in conventional battery cages. These member states were Belgium, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland and Portugal. Sending a reasoned opinion is the next step in the procedure before referral to the EU Court of Justice (ECJ). Belgium and the Netherlands have reported they are now compliant. Our Brussels team has spoken to the Commission about the number of birds that remain in conventional battery cages but due to the ongoing legal proceedings they would not comment. However, it is expected that they will announce which member states are being taken to the ECJ over the next couple of months. Reports are that ‘Europe will be very close to 100 per cent compliant by the end of the year’. More information will be available at the advisory group meeting in Brussels in October. As to the cost of penalty the Commission says: “Calculation of the penalty payment is based on a method that takes account of the seriousness of the infringement, having regard to the importance of the rules breached and the impact of the infringement on general and particular interests, its duration and the member state’s ability to pay, with a view to ensuring that the penalty itself has a deterrent effect.”

Beak trimming The NFU sits on the Beak Trimming Action Group (BTAG) and the Beak Trimming Steering Group. The goal of BTAG is that all interested parties work together to develop and implement an action plan to inform the minister on the situation in regard to the proposed banning of beak trimming in 2016. BTAG members have stressed that the primary consideration of the group is to ensure that the

October • November 2012

Guide to the infraction procedures process for WLHD • Letters of formal notice went out to the noncompliers on 27th January • Member states had two months (until March 27) to reply • A reasoned opinion was issued to member states who had not given satisfactory answers on how they would comply on 21 June • Member states had two months to reply • A decision is made on whether to take the member state to European Court of Justice • Court makes judgement • Commission sends a letter to member state that court has ruled against • Unsatisfactory member states will be sent to court for a second time • Financial penalties begin

welfare of laying hens is safeguarded at all times. Bristol University are carrying out a study looking at managing free-range birds without beak trimming. They are currently recruiting farmers to take part. The Scottish Agricultural College is doing some work on untrimmed birds in enriched colony cages. This work will feed into the review in 2015. The NFU position is that it is imperative that in 2015, if the evidence shows that a ban coming into force in 2016 will be to the detriment of the welfare of laying hens, the ban should be postponed, so that laying hen welfare can be safeguarded.

Processed animal protein (PAP) On July 18 text was adopted in Europe that will allow the feeding of processed animal protein derived from monogastrics to fish. This was the first step in a staged approach. In the second stage the Commission will present a proposal that will allow the feeding of non-ruminant PAP to pigs and poultry. This change is pending the validation of EU detection methods by the EU Reference Laboratory that will enable feed to be checked for cross contamination to ensure that there is no intra-species recycling. These methods should be validated by the end of year. However, it is unlikely the proposal for pigs and poultry will be agreed before the beginning of 2014.

Are you confident in the future of the poultry industry? Help us find out by taking a few minutes to complete the NFU Confidence Survey inserted into this edition of Poultry Forum. The NFU’s annual confidence survey looks into farmers’ attitudes towards the future of their industry, their planned production changes and also their investment levels over both the short and medium term. This year we want to understand how poultry producers are feeling about their businesses on the back of increased feed costs and difficult market conditions. So this year’s survey along with some generic questions also includes some poultry specific ones. The results generated by this piece of work will help us communicate the sentiment within the poultry industry to policy makers, the supply chain and the public, as well as providing a useful insight into what issues are concerning farmers. You can fax back the survey to the number on the form or if you prefer you can also complete the survey online at www.nfuonline. com/websurveys/fcons2012/ fcons2012.htm All information gathered will remain strictly anonymous and confidential and only aggregated results will be reported.

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Focus on poultry ADVERTISMENT FEATURE

Don’t let worms eat away at your productivity

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ll poultry species suffer from worms: layers, breeders, broilers, turkeys, ducks, geese and game. An increased number of birds are kept in alternative production systems such as free-range and floor husbandry. Birds become infected by taking in worm eggs off the floor or pasture, regardless if housed or free range. The lifecycles of some of the worms can be completed in just three weeks, meaning worm levels can quickly build up, making regular deworming essential.

• Large Roundworms (Ascaridia galli) are white or grey roundworms that live in the small intestine and can be up to two inches in length. • Caecal worm (Heterakis gallinarum) is a small worm, which can spread histomoniasis or ‘blackhead’ – a serious disease of chickens and turkeys causing diarrhoea, egg drop and sudden death. • Hairworms (Capillaria) are barely visible with the naked eye. Although hairworms are smaller than roundworms they tend to cause more gut damage, which can lead to severe commercial loss. •P  oultry can also suffer from Gapeworms (Syngamus trachea), which inhabit the windpipe and lungs and can be a frequent problem in pheasant poults. Worms in birds can cause gut damage and lead to poor food utilisation by the birds. This can lead not only to some loss of shell colour, yolk colour, reduced egg laying and poor egg size but, in heavy burdens, can lead to loss of condition or even death of laying hens. However, internal parasite damage can be difficult to spot, but it causes major economic damage nonetheless. Diagnosis is straightforward – fresh droppings are collected and then analysed by your veterinary surgeon, who can then recommend an effective deworming programme.

hygiene and biosecurity contact with litter. to prevent worm eggs Recent work has coming onto your suggested that more farm on footwear, regular routine equipment, treatments, feedbags, wild could also birds, etc. result in Once improvements a worm in productivity infection is on some established in a farms.1 A large flock, the entire scale trial was environment conducted in will be heavily a commercial contaminated free range flock with worm eggs, using Flubenvet™ which unfortunately every 10 weeks in one have a long survival time. group and every five weeks Therefore once an infection is in the second group – which present, the infection pressure produced an additional 10 eggs Large roundworms remains there for the whole per hen over a six-month period. can damage the lifes­pan of the flock and This equates to a return on chicken’s intestines beyond. This makes a strategic investment of around £10 from worming program essential. additional egg sales for every £1 Poultry expert Alastair Johnston spent on treatment. (Minster Vets) recommends Poultry expert Alan Beynon, regular treatment, “In flocks veterinarian at St David’s with more severe worm problems, I would Veterinary Practice advises: “From an recommend a four week gap between economic perspective worms will reduce treatments. Once worm levels are falling, your feed conversion, lower your egg gradually increasing periods between production by up to three per cent and give worming can be adopted.” you downgrades. Regular use of Flubenvet™ Flubenvet™ 5% is broad-spectrum will reduce the worm contamination on deworming treatment for use in broiler an infected range as the birds ‘hoover’ breeders, layers, game birds and turkeys and up the eggs.” is the only in-feed licensed treatment for Further information available: worm infestations in poultry. It is effective Elanco Animal Health, Eli Lilly and Company against the significant worms of poultry Limited, Lilly House, Priestley Road, and gamebirds, killing both mature and Basingstoke. Hampshire, RG24 9NL immature stages and will also kill any eggs in Telephone: 01256 353131 the gut at the time of treatment. Flubenvet Email: elancouk@lilly.com ™ has no effect on the palatability of the feed or on egg-laying, fertility, hatching and embryo mortality. Flubenvet™ is given via the feed for seven consecutive days and eggs from chickens can be taken for human consumption during and after treatment.

What can I do to control worm infestations?

Flubenvet™ demonstrates a significant return on investment

Measures to reduce worm burdens include paddock rotation, reduced stocking density, good land drainage, keeping litter dry, good

A good preventative deworming program should be a standard management procedure on any poultry farm where birds are in

References Trial conducted by Janssen Animal Health 2010 All photos are courtesy of Minster Veterinary Practice. Flubenvet ™is a licensed trademark Flubenvet® 5% w/w Premix for Medicated Feeding Stuff contains flubendazole 50 mg/g Vm number 00006/4150. Legal category POM-VPS Use medicines responsibly www.noah.co.uk/responsible. Advice

of the use of this or alternative medicines should be sought from the medicine prescriber. Flubendazole is a broad spectrum anthelmintic, effective against mature and immature stages and eggs of the following nematodes of chickens, turkeys, geese, partridges and pheasants: In the gastrointestinal tract: Ascaridia galli, Heterakis gallinarum, Capillaria spp., Amidostomum anseris and Trichostrongylus tenuis.

Four main worm types affecting poultry:

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In the respiratory tract: Syngamus trachea Birds must not be slaughtered for human consumption during treatment. Chickens, turkeys, geese, partridges and pheasants: Meat :7 days Chickens eggs: zero days For full details on the use of these products including contraindications and warnings please refer to the SPC

October • November 2012


Egg market report

Worrying outlook for UK egg sector By Tom Willings, Noble Foods contract producer and farms director

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he future of the egg market has never been harder to predict. Unforeseen rapid inflation in wheat and particularly soya prices in recent months has eroded all of the egg price benefits delivered by industry in March, whilst growth in UK chick placings and an egg surplus driving rising levels of promotional activity maintain a typically hostile trading environment within the retail sector. At Noble, we see in our own colony and alternative farms that profitability is back to levels that are unsustainable for all but the most efficient, and unacceptable to everyone. Recovering the lost ground, however, will be very difficult in the short term. In an intensely competitive marketplace, the major supermarkets are losing share to discounters. In the mainstream multiple sector, promotional activity has returned to ‘normal’ levels, reflecting a level of surplus not available since November 11. The low-season levels of demand generate this surplus but also, crucially, by the continued expansion of the UK flock base, both free range and colony. Reported chick placings for July saw an upturn of 18 per cent; 550,000 chicks higher than the same month last year. Eggs set for August were up 17 per cent against the same month a year ago, so this is no one-off. Since the price increases were announced across the industry in the spring, the national flock projection has grown by 1.5m, demonstrating a level of confidence inconsistent with the outlook of the majority of producers I speak to. When a packer is warning customers of short and medium term pressure on the availability of eggs, this single statistic has the ability to undermine the message. In the market itself, the shift between value eggs and premium eggs continues to be volatile – a seesaw, balanced with promotional activity at its fulcrum. The free-range sector remains in decline. The latest 12-week data to August records a 4.2 per cent downturn in volume to 52.1 per cent of the retail market, down from 55 per cent at the same point last

year. In the more recent past promotional activity has rebuilt; now back up to 22 per cent of volume from 14 per cent, and this thrust has slowed the decline to 2.2 per cent on four-week data. The direct opposite can be said of cage sales. On a 12-week period, we’ve seen strong volume growth of 14.1 per cent at the expense of the free range; however, over the previous four weeks the aforementioned freerange discounts have slowed this growth to only 7.6 per cent. Still, cage market share at the 12-week mark is recorded at 40.5 per cent of volume, compared to just 36.5 per cent at the same time last year. Elsewhere, organic sales are still falling, by 12 per cent and 13 per cent over the past 12 and four-week periods respectively. Barn activity, confined largely to a single retailer and used as a price entry offer, reflects the same trend as cage; stealing ground over free range until the promotions kicked back in. In statistical terms, 12-week growth of 2.9 per cent is good news for the sector, but the four-week picture reflects the promiscuous nature of the free-range consumer as the growth is replaced with a sharp decline of 5.1 per cent.

Today, there are simply too many eggs

October • November 2012

All producers, ourselves included, need an egg price increase to recover feed cost inflation that looks ever more a part of the foreseeable future as global harvests have proven disastrous. At present, the realistic prospect of an increase of any significance is slim when one considers the rising availability of eggs combined with a contracting market (as regards the free range sector) in the backdrop of a fiercely competitive retail environment. With the upcoming peak in demand, for a time, the market may appear in balance. This, together with continued depopulation of the European non-compliant cages, will present packers with their best opportunity. However, it is too early to judge chances of success, and there is an uncertain outlook as to the medium term likelihood of a sustained price increase. Today, there are simply too many eggs. Of course, we are all acutely aware that if feed prices do remain at current levels, let alone increase further, then sharp market correction through a contraction in supply is ever more likely. Whether it be producers themselves or their banks, those looking to limit losses and stand sheds empty could represent our very recent history repeating itself. Tumultuous it may be, but at least we know this to be a proven formula to drive price and, for many, it can’t happen soon enough. The outlook for 2013 remains very concerning.

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British egg week

British Egg1-7Week October B

ritish Lion egg producers are launching a multimedia campaign this British Egg Week (1-7 October) with a comprehensive package of activity including an ad campaign on ITV1, a social media programme and a new cookery book. The campaign aims to remind consumers of the versatility and health benefits of eggs at a time when egg consumption traditionally rises following a dip during the summer months. The ‘Fast Food and Good For You’ TV campaign features quick and easy meal ideas, including a courgette frittata and a pizza omelette, and will target housewives. Executions are set to air during the revamped Daybreak show on ITV1 from 1 October. Following consumer research showing a worrying lack of egg cookery skills among young people – a YouGov* survey shows that 35 per cent of 18-24 year olds have never poached an egg – British Lion eggs is also

capitalising on the launch of Take a Box of Eggs (Eaglemoss, £9.99), the latest in the popular Dairy Cookbook series. An advertising campaign in multiple retailer magazines, coupled with an editorial PR programme, will feature tempting ideas from the book, which showcases 100 egg recipes, ranging from much-loved classics to more adventurous soufflés and bakes. The print campaign is accompanied by a social media drive encouraging Twitter users and bloggers to swap recipe ideas. A campaign microsite – www. britisheggweek.com – also features quick and easy meals and dessert recipes as well as competitions and campaign news.

World Egg Day website launched The International Egg Commission’s (IEC) London 2012 conference in early September saw the launch of a brand new World Egg Day website at www. worldeggday.com. The first World Egg Day was celebrated in 1996 and since then there have been a huge variety of events taking place internationally every year with people enjoying and celebrating the wonderful versatility of the egg. This year World Egg Day will be celebrated on Friday 12 October, and the IEC has launched this new multi-lingual website to help promote the benefits of eggs with consumers, health advisors and nutritionists all around the world.

‘Eggs for Soldiers’ win prestigious award Noble Foods were awarded the 2012 Crystal Egg Award at the International Egg Commission (IEC) Conference for their outstanding commitment to Corporate and Social Responsibility. Marketing Chairman James Kellaway and IEC Chairman Joanne Ivy presented Steve Horton, marketing director at Noble Foods, with the prestigious IEC Crystal Egg Award in recognition of its innovative CSR branding campaigns, “Eggs for Soldiers” – working with the Help for Heroes Charity – and “One” – whose aim is to help one person at a time, focusing

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on helping disadvantaged people in Malawi.  Both branding campaigns make it easy for the consumer to “do something good” and give something back. The judges were impressed by how both projects still make financial sense through the supply chain, whilst supporting the charitable organisations and also making  a positive impact on their business and workforce. Also honoured in the awards were Aled Griffiths, OBE and Peter Kemp, OBE who both received IEC Honorary Life Member Awards. Congratulations to all.

October • November 2012


Focus on eggs

Thoughts from the next generation

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’m having to pinch myself sitting down to write my bit for the October/November Poultry Forum. The year seems to have jumped from one drama to another, be it weather, sport, commodity prices or politics. 2012 so far has been an eventful year and with such a late harvest, September feels like it has crept up on us unawares. Luckily we haven’t had any major dramas yet with our second free-range egg flock that is now at 32 weeks, so we seem to be enjoying an extended honeymoon period. Although a strict biosecurity protocol may have gone some way to helping this, credit for which must go to the lads on site who have held the fort whilst I have been rushing about like the proverbial blue arsed fly. Part of the reason for my flightiness of late is that we

commenced the build for a new colony cage unit in June and that has been keeping me busy. We are presently on with installing the equipment in the shed and have opted for the new Big Dutchman colony that many of you may have seen at the Pig and Poultry Fair. This system is wider than many of its counterparts, which may make catching birds a bit trickier, but makes for a better use of space within the house. Another element that attracted us to this particular colony was that it is designed so that it can be converted to a barn system, should the market or legislation ever require us to do so, but hopefully this will never become necessary. One thing that has been a bit of a concern is that whenever our equipment rep pays us a visit he always seems extremely busy

With Rick Dewhirst, Egg producer and NFU Next Generation Policy Forum’ member coming to or from clients putting up new free-range egg units; but then I suppose this fits with the latest chick placement and egg set figures. As has been well documented, the deficit in supply of egg recently has been in the intensive sector into which free-range has been cascading. Battery cages have gone and the hole in the growing intensive market is rapidly being filled, whilst the supply for free range egg continues to increase despite a fall in its demand. My big fear for 2013 is an oversupply in free-range egg of 2011 proportions coupled with 2012 feed prices, with no market correcting welfare legislation on the horizon to save the day this time around. But then again maybe I just need to cheer up a bit- after all it’s nearly Christmas.

Eggs even better for you – BEIS explain to health experts On the back of official new data released during the summer, The British Egg Information Service (BEIS) is launching a new campaign this autumn to spread the good news about eggs improved nutritional value to health professionals. Today’s eggs contain more than 70 per cent more vitamin D and double the amount of selenium than when previous analyses were carried out 30 years ago, as well as less fat and fewer calories. This autumn there will be a series of advertorials in

October • November 2012

publications aimed at GPs, nurses and health visitors explaining the changes in the nutritional breakdown and the health benefits associated with eating eggs. After sponsoring a Guild of Health Writers seminar in late September, BEIS will go on to promote the new data and its health implications to around 700 dieticians, nutritionists, practice nurses, GPs and professors at the Nutrition & Health Live exhibition at London’s Olympia on November 2 and 3.

NFU Poultry Forum

27


Focus on Eggs

Salmonella advice to environmental health bosses E

gg producer and former NFU Welsh poultry delegate to the NFU Poultry Board, Tony Burgess recently wrote to the Food Standards Agency with concerns that many local catering and food businesses were not totally informed about salmonella testing and eggs. The following is a copy of the letter sent from the Food Standards Agency to all heads of Environmental Health Services in England, clarifying the situation.

Dear Colleague, I am writing to you regarding a series of egg-related issues, concerning food hygiene and safety, following some recent correspondence received by the Food Standards Agency. Salmonella controls in eggs for human consumption I am aware that there has been some misunderstanding about salmonella controls for eggs and would like to take this opportunity to provide clarification. In accordance with EU legislation there is a National Control Programme (NCP) for salmonella in laying hens, which has been in place in the UK since 2008. The NCP is implemented by Defra and it should be recognised that all egg producers are required to comply with this standard, regardless of whether they belong to a certified assurance scheme. Similar controls are also in place in other EU member states. More details about this can found on Defra’s website at: www.defra.gov.uk/ food-farm/food/food-industry/egg-industry/ Outbreak of salmonella Enteritidis in eggs now over The agency wrote to local authorities in December 2009 (ENF/E/09/050) regarding an outbreak of salmonella enteritidis phage type 14b and potential links with eggs supplied from an approved establishment in Spain. I would like to clarify that following collaborative investigations involving the Agency, Animal Health Veterinary Laboratories Agency’s Egg Marketing Inspectors (EMI), Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) and the Spanish authorities, the outbreak was declared over in September 2011. A statement appeared on the agency’s website at the time (link enclosed below) to confirm this: www.food.gov.uk/news/newsarchive/ 2011/sep/eggs Further guidance on egg-related food business operators The agency is currently considering producing guidance for local authorities on the approval of egg packing centres under the food hygiene requirements covered in regulation (EC) No. 853/2004, annex III, section X. The guidance will clarify the conditions that exempt certain egg packing centres from being approved under the regulation. It will also clarify the requirements covering identification marks for such businesses. It is expected that this will be finalised before the end of this year.

Laid in Britain Quality Assurance Scheme looking to grow membership

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he United Kingdom Egg Producers Association, (UKEP) which manages the Laid In Britain Quality Assurance Scheme for independent egg producers, has recently appointed Grassroots PR to help it grow the membership and promote the scheme to the market. The Laid in Britain Quality Assurance Scheme launched in 1999 encompasses a rigorous testing and monitoring programme to maintain the health and welfare of the laying flocks and guarantee the best quality eggs to the end user. Members of UKEP comprise independent producer/packers, who operate mainly in their respective local areas supplying a varied selection of retail and catering outlets.

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With food miles high on the agenda, producers’ proximity to the market means that carbon footprints are minimised and any traceability trail is short. Leading avian vet David Spackman, one of the founders of the scheme explained: “Our scheme offers an alternative quality food mark and caters for the small to medium sized egg producer. It gives them credibility when selling their eggs. With the Laid In Britain mark end users can be confident of buying safe, quality eggs that have been carefully produced on local farms.”

For more information contact: Grassroots PR Ltd on 01460 259776 or email claire@grassroostpr.co.uk

October • November 2012


NFU update

Chairman’s comment

Barn, free range and organic producers needed for study

October • November 2012

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fter an inspiring summer of sport with the Olympics and then Para Olympics the International Egg Commission (IEC) decided to hold its autumn conference in London right next to a rather worn out Hyde Park. One of the highlights of the IEC Conference, where a record 440 people attended is listening to the different country reviews from around the world. It appears we all having the same issues of unprecedented rises in feed costs and a supermarket sector throughout the world unwilling to pass any more money down the supply chain. Talking to our local feed mill this is really going to have a major impact in our region when at the end of September most of his contracts need to be renewed. Eventually the supermarkets are going to have to pay more; otherwise there will be none of us producing eggs or meat. What the NFU is trying to do in its campaign is to make that happen as soon as possible. This has not been made any easier in the egg sector by having the Free Range and Colony out of balance and a cutthroat retail market place. To help people see what is happening the NFU Poultry Board is getting involved in two projects. One is to work out a genuine cost of production in the free range egg sector that reflects true costs like borrowings etc. For this they are looking for 100 volunteers to help. The second is we are looking at getting more market data for poultry, eggs and turkey in terms of value and volume so NFU members are able to make more informed choices in their businesses and so they can understand better what is going on in the retail sector. I just hope at the end of the year we don’t have the same issue in the poultry meat sector when Sainsbury’s changes its supply base. A couple of key points from the conference. In the US, 56 companies produce 80 per cent of the eggs and the average size of a laying unit is now for

the first time over 1 million birds. Mexico lost over 25 million birds this summer from an AI outbreak, exasperated by the fact no one including the Mexican government had any contingency plans for such an outbreak. On a brighter note the NFU’s Poultry Industry Programme, sponsored by ABN is finally underway with 20 enthusiastic people from all regions and all sectors. The first workshop for those involved is on social and media training with an introduction to the excellent NFU HQ. With best wishes

Eventually the supermarkets are going to have to pay more..

All laying hen producers will be aware that the Government has made a commitment to review all available evidence on beak trimming in 2015 with a view to banning this procedure in 2016. It is essential that work is carried out and evidence gathered on a commercial scale to show if laying hens can be reliably managed without beak trimming and a study has been commissioned to do just that.   Defra has appointed the University of Bristol to work with free range, barn and organic producers willing to take part in the study and run untrimmed flocks. The Bristol team, led by Christine Nicol will provide a bespoke support package to the farmers taking part. They have already carried out extensive research on managing feather pecking in a previous study with beak trimmed flocks and have a set of management strategies that can be used by producers to help them overcome the potential effects of not beak trimming.    Calls for volunteers to take part in the study went out in July and it is pleasing to report that there are several flocks already signed up. However, to help ensure a representative sample covering as many breeds and production systems as possible more producers are required. While freerange flocks have signed up more are required and Christine is also asking for more barn and multi-tier producers to come forward.  The team would like to work with producers for two flocks and ideally would like volunteers to join the project before they place orders for new pullets. If you would like more information on the study and the bespoke support you would receive please contact Christine Nicol at c.j.nicol@bris.ac.uk or telephone Jon Walton or Paula Baker on 0117 331 9114. Work on non-trimmed flocks in enriched colony cages is being carried out by SAC. The NFU sits on the Beak Trimming Action Group (BTAG) alongside representatives from BEIC, BFREA, ADAS, FAWC, CIWF, RSPCA academics, veterinarians and retailers. The group is working to develop and implement an action plan to inform consideration of the Government’s desire to ban beak trimming in 2016. BTAG stresses the primary consideration is to ensure the welfare of laying hens.

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Focus on eggs

NFU joins with industry representatives to produce robust free range costings A

consortium of industry interests including NFU, BFREPA and NEMAL has approached ADAS to lead the development and maintenance of an independent costings service. ADAS has many years experience in developing and providing costing services across a range of species/systems and has produced valuation tables for Defra over the last 10 years. The costings will require at least 100 producers to volunteer to provide costing data that can be used to establish the baseline data. Participants will be asked to fill in a questionnaire – either online or via a pre-printed form which will be sent back to ADAS. During the initial phase of the work,

telephone support will be provided by ADAS in case of any difficulties or uncertainties with completing the required information. All the information provided will be held solely by ADAS and will be held on an ‘in-confidence’ basis. Individual contributors will be assigned a unique reference number known only to them and the ADAS costings team. After the initial start-up or baseline stage, it is the intention that the service will be available to all BFREPA and NFU members so that individuals can analyse variations in performance between their own figures and the standard figures and identify opportunities for improvement. The benefit to any early volunteers is that they will have an earlier opportunity to benchmark their own flocks. If you are willing to help establish the system by providing your own costing information, please either complete the pre-paid card distributed through The Ranger magazine to BFREPA members or contact Sian Lloyd at ADAS. T 01974 847000 E sian.lloyd@adas.co.uk If you have any queries about this new initiative please contact John Newton T 01284 763907, email john.newton@adas.co.uk or Stephen Edge T 01626 779541 E Stephen.edge@adas.co.uk

Participants will be asked to fill in a questionnaire

New ‘Clive Frampton Memorial Award’ for EPIC Conference

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rganisers of the Egg and Poultry Industry Conference (EPIC) have been seeking nominations for the inaugural Clive Frampton Memorial Award during the last few weeks. The award is being made in memory of Clive Frampton, who sadly passed away earlier this year, and will be presented at EPIC on the 4/5 November. “Clive Frampton was a man of vision and always had a mind to the future,” said EPIC Chairman John Cessford. “It is for this reason that nominations were invited for candidates under the age of 40.” “Whilst Clive was a highly successful and huge supporter of the UK egg sector in particular, he was equally a

October • November 2012

major figure in the UK and Europe’s poultry industry,” added Mr Cessford. “Clive’s family is therefore keen that nominations are considered for the inaugural award from the entire poultrymeat and egg sectors.” Nominations for the award closed at the end of September but the winner will be judged on the following criteria: • Contribution to the candidate’s company in particular, and the poultry industry in general. • Policies, programmes and innovations initiated by the candidate that have significantly enhanced productivity or otherwise furthered the interests of the poultry industry.

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News update

New faces at Defra D

avid Cameron’s reshuffle of his cabinet in early September saw Owen Paterson take over as the new Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, replacing Caroline Spelman. Farming minister Jim Paice was also a casualty – his job going to the Liberal Democrat MP, David Heath. NFU President Peter Kendall said: “I’d like to thank Caroline Spelman for leading Defra for more than two years. The economic background has made this a particularly difficult period to be in charge of a spending department such as Defra, and she made some bold decisions on key issues. “In turn, let me offer my congratulations to Owen Paterson on his appointment as the new Defra Secretary of State. Mr Paterson has a real appreciation of the importance of agriculture, both as a result of the strong farming presence in his North Shropshire constituency and through his previous experience as shadow Defra spokesman.

“Farming as an industry is poised to be one of the UK’s economic success stories over the coming decade. Demand for food globally will increase and there is much we can do to ensure a secure domestic supply of top quality food. To this end, the government must take a coherent approach to food and farming policy, recognising the importance of domestic production, and I am confident that Mr Paterson will prove a thoughtful and passionate advocate within government.” Our Westminster team have put together short biographies of the new pairing, Richard Benyon remains in his position as Parliamentary undersecretary of state with responsibilities for the Natural Environment, Water and Marine, Rural Affairs, Departmental administration and Commons handling of Lords portfolio for mainly environmental issues. Also new to the team is Lord de Mauley as Parliamentary undersecretary of state for the Lords

Owen Paterson MP Conservative NORTH SHROPSHIRE Secretary of State for the Environment

Biography:

Biography:

Owen Paterson was Parliamentary Private Secretary to former leader Iain Duncan Smith, before being appointed as a Shadow Minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs by Michael Howard in 2003. In that post, he campaigned for radical action on bovine tuberculosis, as well as calling for repatriation of control over fisheries from the Common Fisheries Policy. On his election to the Conservative party leadership David Cameron kept Mr Paterson on as a Shadow Transport Minister, and in 2007 promoted him to the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary. He duly became Northern Ireland Secretary in May 2010, and was subsequently appointed Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in September 2012. Born in 1956, he was educated at Radley College and read history at Cambridge. A former managing director of the family tanning business, the British Leather Company, he stood for Wrexham in the 1992 General Election, before succeeding his political mentor John Biffen in North Shropshire. Part Welsh through his mother, he served on the Welsh Affairs Select Committee in his first Parliament, and also had spells on the Agriculture and European Scrutiny Committees.

David Heath has been on the Liberal Democrat front bench with increasing visibility for more than a decade. He was his party’s Shadow Leader of the House of Commons for two years from 2005. In the 2006 reshuffle, he was given responsibility of shadowing the Cabinet Office. Following the formation of the coalition in May 2010, he was rewarded with a government post as Deputy Leader of the House of Commons. Born in Somerset in 1954, he was educated at Millfield School and went on to Oxford where he studied physiological sciences. He was first elected to Parliament in 1997 for the rural constituency of Somerton and Frome and has held the seat at three subsequent elections. He has had spells as a spokesman on foreign affairs, agriculture (from 1999 to 2001), work and pensions and science. He has been a member of a number of select committees, including Foreign Affairs, Science and Technology and Standards and Privileges.

Responsibilities • Strategy and overall responsibility for departmental policy; • Budget and finances; • Legislative programme; • Emergencies; • EU and international relations; and • Environment Agency and Natural England.

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David Heath MP Liberal Democrat SOMERTON AND FROME Minister of State for Agriculture and Food

NFU POULTRY FORUM

Responsibilities Farming and food

• Common Agricultural Policy and deputising for the Secretary of State at EU Agriculture Council; • Single Payments Scheme and the Rural Payments Agency; • New Covent Garden Market Authority; • Better regulation; • Climate change mitigation in the agriculture sector; • Agricultural Wages, gangmasters’ licensing and Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme; and • Rural Development Programme for England (joint with Mr Benyon).

Animal health

• Management of endemic and exotic diseases (including bovine TB); • Animal Health and Welfare Board for England; • Welfare of farm animals; • Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency; and • Veterinary Medicines Directorate.

Forestry Commons handling of Lords’ portfolio • Nanotechnology, pesticides, chemicals and industrial pollution; • Genetically Modified Organisms; • Plant and bee Health; • Green economy, sustainable consumption and production; and • Welfare of companion and wild animals (including circuses, dangerous dogs and zoos).

October • November 2012


Organic update

Organic producers still under pressure Update from NFU Organic Adviser Ruth Mason

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ollowing the NFU and others’ lobbying of Defra and within Europe, we were pleased to report earlier this year that the EU Commission planned to continue to allow organic monogastric producers to feed a five per cent non-organic allowance within their feed until 2014. It is hoped that this will allow the sector time to find a solution to moving towards 100 per cent organic diets.

Declining sales impact Since this announcement the organic sector has continued to come under pressure from a number of angles. Kantar Worldpanel recently reported that overall sales of organic products have fallen eight per cent to £773.7m over the past year. It is clear that this decline in sales is having an impact on farmers, many of who have chosen to revert back to conventional production. Defra statistics published earlier this year show that the amount of land that is in organic production has decreased by nine per cent between 2010 and 2011. Furthermore it is evident that poultry producers have continued to feel the pressure, with a decline of 27 per cent to three million birds being seen across the same period.

on Organic Production (EGTOP) has been tasked by the Commission to conduct a comprehensive study of organic layer and broiler production. This study is due to be presented to the Commission in the near future and will aid the Commission in its review of the organic poultry regulations. One of the most contentious points for the UK is the use and definition of verandas/ winter gardens on poultry houses. These three-sided structures are used in many European member states as an extension of the main poultry house and allow birds to have access to outside areas that are under cover. Some member states have put forward the position that the ground space within these verandas should count as part of the usable area of the main house. If this proposal was to be taken on board by the Commission this would place the UK, which does not commonly use verandas, at a commercial disadvantage. This is because EU producers would be able to stock birds to a higher stocking density, as the usable area would be increased due to the re-classification of ground space within a veranda. Following these proposals the NFU has been working with NFU Brussels Office to lobby against the classification of verandas as part of the usable area within a house.

It is clear that this decline in sales is having an impact on farmers

The veranda debate The EU’s Expert Group for Technical Advice

Farmers must ask for more information on winter wheat seed

I

t has recently come to the NFU’s attention that many organic producers have concerns over sourcing organic wheat seed for autumn planting. From the feedback we are getting from the sector there is little wheat seed available for producers at this time. This is primarily due to high levels of the disease Fusarium being present within seed. At the end of September the NFU attended a meeting on this issue with other industry stakeholders including the Soil Association, grain merchants and Defra to discuss how matters could be taken forward. A full briefing on this meeting is available to NFU members at nfuonline.com through the Organics section or contact Ruth Mason at ruth. mason@nfu.org.uk The main message that appears to be coming from the industry is that it likely that producers will be purchasing seed from merchants that they do not normally use, it is therefore vital that they ask for a disease profile of the seed they are purchasing. The NFU together with the Soil Association will be providing a guide for farmers as to the sort of questions they should be asking.

Celebrating ‘Organic September’ with plum ads

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he Soil Association, together with the Organic Trade Board’s generic ‘Naturally Different’ campaign, worked with many of the leading supermarkets during September to promote organic products. Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Ocado took part involving more promotions and couponing than last year. Tesco, which has just added an organic section to its website, ran a Clubcard points offer for customer buying organic veg, supported with displays

October • November 2012

and adverts in store. Ocado ran promotions on a third of its 1,500 strong organic range, advertising the offers prominently with banner ads. Using social media Organic UK ran daily competitions and weekly giveaways. And the advertising campaign featuring talking carrots, apples and cows were joined by a new cheeky pair or plums, all of whom appeared on the London Underground during September.

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Legal issues update

The Agricultural Wages Board

– has it gone yet? I

t has been some time since the government announced its intentions to abolish the agricultural wages regime. Later in this article, NFU Senior legal adviser James Potter gives an update on progress and the likely timetable. But first, chief economist Phil Bicknell offers a couple of reminders why the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board (AWB) presents an opportunity.

An opportunity for change The NFU supports the government’s plans to abolish Agricultural Wages Board (AWB) and sees the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Order (AWO) as an opportunity for individual farm businesses to recruit and retain workers without the restrictions of the order. Farm workers must be appropriately rewarded for the vital contribution they make to individual farms. Similarly, that must reflect the skills and expertise that workers bring to farm businesses. We believe the abolition of AWB is consistent with the aspiration to foster an efficient, competitive and modern farming sector, where skills and expertise are rewarded by a sector that contributes to economic growth, and meets the challenges of feeding a growing global population.

Alignment with other sectors Abolition represents an opportunity for us to become aligned with other sectors. Agriculture is unique in maintaining the AWB and our sector is unique in having employment and wage terms covered by separate legislation. Farm businesses employ 142,000 farm workers in England and Wales out of a total employed workforce of 25.7 million. Yet we have a wages order in place that covers just over 0.5 per cent of the workforce. Looking at it another way, some 37,000 farms in England employ workers. This is just 1.7 per cent of the total businesses in England. Over 98 per cent of other businesses have no sector specific order relating to minimum wages for their business. The majority of workers employed by businesses in this country do not require an independent body to set minimum wages, nor decide other terms and conditions. This seems entirely consistent with modern notions of workers’

By Phil Bicknall, NFU Chief Economist.

rights, industrial relations and business management. Simplicity can be achieved by aligning terms and conditions with other sectors, and facilitating comparisons across different job roles. AWB adds to confusion for both workers and employers, duplicating regulation and creating an unnecessary administrative burden, hindering business development.

Free farming to reward workers It is also an opportunity to free up the industry to reward workers appropriately. Although the AWB sets minimum wage rates, it focuses on the hourly rate. This is effectively a one-size fits all approach. Free from the AWO, we see the opportunity for workers and employers to look more widely at the total employment package; to go beyond the basic hourly rate and particularly consider skills, training, and non-cash benefits as negotiations between individual workers and individual businesses become the norm.

Provide more flexibility Anyone working in farming knows that the industry is characterised by a staggering diversity of business types and production systems, perhaps more so than any other sector of the economy. Some businesses require large numbers of temporary workers for low skilled roles. Others employ highly skilled, salaried managers responsible for the operation of multi-million pound farming businesses. The increasing specialisation of farming and the inherent seasonality inevitably means peaks and troughs in labour need, yet the AWO does not allow that flexibility. Similarly, recent years have seen contrasting fortunes across agricultural sectors (see chart). For example, profitability of cereal farms increased significantly in 2010/11 reflecting a peak in commodity

Defra remains comitted to abolition

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prices, whilst a quarter of horticulturalists failed to generate any profit. Yet wage settlements continue to be determined in a way that is almost a one-size fits all approach. And with volatility expected to become the norm, the rationality of an industrywide wage settlement must be questioned. Our vision is for pay that is more related to productivity and skills, and where performance and the contribution to the individual business are given increasing precedence.

Simplify employment regulations Finally, abolition is an opportunity to simplify employment regulations for farmers, growers and workers. The 2010 Agricultural Wages Order is a 59-page document that comes on top of wider employment legislation, not least the national minimum wage introduced in 1999. We know this overlap of legislation creates issues. Take workers in an on-farm packhouse, packing produce for a retail customer. If the produce is from that farm, then they must comply with the wages order; if it’s from another farm, those same workers, in that same packhouse, packing produce for that same retail customer fall outside the AWO. The reality is that over half of farm businesses have diversified, through necessity or opportunity. AWB has not kept pace with the shifting practices and needs of a modern farming business.

Market drivers to determine wages There have been claims that farm workers

October • November 2012


Legal issues update

received hard copies of the latest order. Defra has confirmed it remains committed to abolishing the AWB but the timetable for this remains unclear.

Process to abolish the AWB

will suffer lower wages if the AWO is abolished and that farm employers will simply seek to pay their workers the minimum allowed under National Minimum Wage legislation. Claims of such an outcome are clearly ill founded. They pay no regard for current rates of pay or existing contractual obligations. More importantly, they take no account of the commercial realities of farming businesses that operate in a competitive marketplace and where skilled and qualified farm workers are highly sought after and well rewarded. Farm work does not feature in the lowest paying job roles identified by government statistics, Rates in the industry are not the lowest when compared to the wider economy and the reality is that few farm workers currently

October • November 2012

receive the minimums set by the board. Average earnings in 2010 for full time farm workers were 41 per cent above the industry minimums set by the board. On average, farm workers are over ÂŁ100 per week better off than the tens of thousands employed in retail and hospitality roles for example. Abolition will allow farm businesses to operate on the same terms as other employers, but it will not remove the market drivers that already determine wage levels for many farm workers.

Clarification of latest AWO At the confirmation meeting of the AWB for England and Wales on 20 July 2012 the new AWO was confirmed and will take effect 1 October 2012. NFU members have

Although unaware of when the process may re-start, we do know that a minimum 12-week consultation is required under the Public Bodies Act before a draft order is laid before Parliament to abolish the AWB. The draft order must then be before Parliament for at least 40 days, and potentially increase to 60 days. This does not include days during which Parliament is dissolved or prorogued or during which either House is adjourned for more than four days. Only then can the draft order be approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament. Even if the consultation began next week, it would not be complete until the New Year. With the period the draft order is before Parliament interrupted by the Christmas recess, it would be spring 2013 before the minister could formally abolish AWB. A further complication is that the consultation period cannot begin when Parliament is not sitting. With the House of Commons in recess for conferences 18 September 2012 to 15 October 2012 and autumn recess 13 November 2012 to 19 November 2012, this limits opportunities to launch the consultation. Currently, it is unknown when the consultation stage will start, but it is clear that the abolition process for the AWB has not progressed as many would have hoped. Given the delay, there is an increasing prospect of a further AWB negotiations cycle in 2013 if the consultation is not launched this year. To register for direct notification of the consultation launch date, and for queries concerning the AWB abolition process, members can contact NFU Call First on 0870 845 8458 or email awb@nfu.org.uk

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Environment issues

Solar Feed-in Tariff rates revealed for November I

n line with the settlement reached earlier this year between government and the growing solar industry, the basis for the next round of Feed-in Tariff (FIT) ‘degression’ has been announced by the Department of Energy and Climate Change. FITs are due to fall by 3.5 per cent every three months, unless deployment either exceeds or falls below expectations. Official figures for May, June and July show that 164 MW of domestic PV (0-10 kW) and 57 MW of small-medium PV (10-50 kW) were installed, which fell within the government projections that allow a total of between 800 and 1600 MW per year without triggering faster reductions in the FITs. However, only 14 MW of larger installations (50kW-5MW) were recorded (less than DECC’s quarterly threshold of 50 MW), so degression here will be zero and tariffs will remain the same.

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A full summary of the expected tariff changes from 1 November can be viewed on the Solar Power Portal Website at www. solarpowerportal.co.uk/news/november_fit_ rates_revealed_2356 Formal confirmation of the new payment rates for solar PV installations with eligibility dates between 1 November 2012 and 31 January 2013 can be found at www.ofgem. gov.uk/Sustainability/Environment/fits/tarifftables/Pages/index.aspx Dr Jonathan Scurlock, NFU chief adviser on renewable energy, said: “The continued decreasing cost of PV systems across all scales ensures that solar power remains a solid investment for farmers, with rising electricity prices only adding to the returns available. This new model of progressive tariff reductions should remove some of the boom and bust that the market endured last year.”

New Agricultural waste exemptions system – process and timetable The Environment Agency (EA) has provided details of how the transition to the new exemption system will be managed over the next year. Key messages for farmers • All ‘old’ exemptions (i.e. exemptions labelled “Paragraph X” registered before 6 April 2010) expire on 30 September 2013.  • Farmers must register ‘new’ exemptions by this date if they wish to continue their operations. • Farmers can use the old exemptions right up to 30 September 2013 when they expire, even if you have registered under the new exemption system. • The EA will be writing to farmers telling them what to do, starting from October 2012.   • It is important to remember to respond to this letter/information pack when you receive it as there will not be any further reminders.   • The fastest and easiest way of responding is online through the Environment Agency website. • Farmers need do nothing now until they receive their information pack from the Environment Agency.

October • November 2012


Environment issues

Pollution Control – current issues update Good practice checklist for odour The NFU is in the process of finalising a joint industry and regulator owned Code of Conduct for odour, along with industry bodies, for each of the pig and poultry sectors. Unfortunately, many pig and poultry producers, including those with modern well-run units, suffer from complaints from neighbours at some time. Complaints are sometimes justified, but sometimes they are not. They can be mischievous or malicious. In some cases a genuine mistake may have been made as to the cause of the problem or the reasonable level of expectation. Whatever the circumstances, complaints are always a problem. They are always costly in terms of management time, neighbourly relations and reputation and they always need to be dealt with. The code of conduct for odour has been prepared to outline the key steps and responsibilities of parties involved in resolving odour issues, including the farmer, the regulator and the public. The code makes it clear that all parties have a role to play in resolving odour complaint issues and the exchange of information and good communication links are important. To accompany the code, an industry-owned good practice checklist, has also been produced containing possible actions or measures that the farmer may want to consider using to address any reported odour issues.

Legal guide In addition to the Code of Conduct for Odour and with the help of NFU Legal Panel Firm Hewitsons, the NFU and the NPA produced a guide Permits, pigs and poultry – what a nuisance!, outlining some of the legal issues surrounding nuisance – whether related to odour, noise or dust. The guide covers a range of common areas including how complaints are made, persistent complaints and

October • November 2012

By Dr Diane Mitchell, NFU chief evironnment adviser

remedies open to the regulator, whether the Environment Agency or the local authority.

Important Reminder If you receive an abatement notice from a local authority, in response to any nuisance such as odour, noise or flies, never ignore it! The abatement notice will require abatement of the nuisance and will outline conditions for compliance. Any appeal against the notice must be lodged within 21 days of the service of the notice. You can read more on Statutory Nuisance and abatement notices in NFU Business Guide 079.

Planning, permitting and EA On other matters, the NFU has recently commented on a draft guidance document explaining the Environment Agency’s role in the planning and permitting process. As many members know, the permitting and planning interface can be fraught with problems so we welcomed publication of guidance, which should help aid transparency. We did, however, express disappointment that the guidance was not jointly produced by the Environment Agency and Natural England. We can expect to see a finalised version of the guidance by the end of September.

Rule change proposals The NFU also recently responded to a Defra consultation seeking views on its proposals to transpose commitments in the Industrial Emissions Directive (the former IPPC Directive) into national legislation. Among

our concerns with the transposition proposals were the implications of the IED provisions for food processing – which could impact on on-farm feed mixing and which may also implicate many non-IPPC-sized agricultural businesses. In terms of developments at a European level, we have also commented on draft reports issued by the European Commission, including one which reviews whether there is a need to amend the poultry threshold (currently set at 40,000 places). Although the draft report does not come to any immediate conclusions, we can expect to hear more from the Commission on its thinking by the end of the year. The NFU’s view remains that this regime is ill suited to agriculture and we are committed to ensuring that the impact of any proposed changes have minimal impact on our sector.

Slow progress In the meantime, slow progress is being made on the revisions to the BREF – the European guidance document that helps the Environment Agency set best practice or Best Available Techniques (BAT) in England and Wales. The first edition of the BREF was published in 2003 and is now being updated to reflect changes and developments in the industry. The NFU is represented on the technical working group for the BREF and we can expect to see the next draft version of the document by the end of the year. It is crucially important for us to be involved in the discussions because changes agreed to the IED mean that member states have less flexibility in deviating from BREF. We have to make sure that the guidance document is practical and achievable. You can read or access more information on the NFU’s IPPC work on NFUonline here www.nfuonline.com/our-work/ environment/ippc

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Planning update

Food production should be a key part of sustainable, economic growth in rural areas Presumption in favour of ‘sustainable development’

By Ivan Moss, NFU Planning Adviser

A

s part of its programme to simplify and streamline the planning system the Government published the National Planning Policy Framework1 (NPPF) on 27 March 2012. It replaced over a thousand pages of existing planning policy. Although there is no specific reference to the importance of food production, paragraph 28 of the NPPF on the rural economy is the key section for the farming industry. It states that: “Planning policies should support economic growth in rural areas in order to create jobs and prosperity….” This applies to all types of business not just those traditionally associated with the countryside. There is specific reference to promoting the development and diversification of agricultural and other landbased rural businesses. In the section considering business, the NPPF states that local authorities should have a clear understanding of business needs within the economic markets operating in and across their areas with a specific reference to “the needs of the food production industry and any barriers to investment that planning can resolve”. It is clear, therefore, that business in this context includes farming. The essential point, as far as the NFU is concerned, is that farming is a business which is growing and local authorities should ensure that its potential is not stifled by restrictive planning policies. One problem that has recurred in seeking to promote the rural economy is the lack of public transport that has led to many authorities considering rural locations ‘unsustainable’. There is a clear message that although local authorities should look to maximise sustainable transport, there will be different solutions in rural and urban areas. The protection of best and most versatile agricultural land is retained, the policy giving emphasis to its economic as well as ‘other benefits’. Other benefits are not explained but it could well be an indirect reference to food production.

While there is an obvious presumption in favour of sustainable development, the NPPF does not contain a simple definition. The ministerial foreword goes some way to explaining the Government’s view with the following the statement: “So sustainable development is about positive growth – making economic, environmental and social progress for this and future generations.” The interdependence of economic, social and economic elements of sustainable development is highlighted in numerous places with the point being firmly made that “economic growth can secure higher social and environmental standards”. One of the core planning principles is that the framework should proactively drive and support sustainable economic development. Whilst the NPPF includes the phrase that planning should recognise the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside, this is linked to the need to support thriving rural communities.

Stress importance to the rural economy

Farming is a business which is growing

The key message for the farming industry when submitting a planning application is to highlight the importance of farming to the rural economy and that this is an essential part of assessing whether it is sustainable. However, any possible environmental impacts must not be ignored and, where possible, enhancement should be part of a scheme. It should be emphasised that it is the whole development that is being assessed and not just the environmental impacts. Of particular interest to the poultry industry is a new Environment Agency publication Guidelines for developments requiring planning permission and environmental permits’ working draft.2 This sets out how the Environment Agency seeks to work with local authorities and developers when an environmental permit is required. The emphasis is on early consultation and joint working between the three parties. One small but potentially significant change for the poultry industry is that fitting of solar panels to the roofs of existing buildings subject to certain criteria is now permitted development.

October • November 2012

National Planning Policy Framework

www.communities.gov.uk

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A more supportive, positive approach

In conclusion, there is a more positive national planning framework within which to promote agricultural developments. The NPPF is urging local authorities to approach decision-making by looking for solutions rather than problems. The Prime Minister said in the House of Commons on the 5 September: “I want every single department to be about the economy I want the agriculture department backing British food.” However, what matters is not the rhetoric but the decisions made both by local authorities and the Planning Inspectorate. At present it is not clear that the importance of food production and the rural economy is being consistently reflected in decisions. This is a matter which the NFU is monitoring and discussing with government. References

1. www.communities.gov.uk/documents/ planningandbuilding/pdf/2116950.pdf 2. http://cdn.environment-agency.gov.uk/geho0512bupee-e.pdf

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NFU Poultry Forum October-November 2012