Poultry price rise inevitable

Poultry price rises are inevitable in the face of rocketing feed prices, bosses have warned. Consumers could be facing increased costs for chicken, due to the ongoing shortages on the world feed grain markets, the British Poultry Council said.

A combination of shortfall in harvests coupled with the US government upping the level of corn-based ethanol in petrol have sent corn and wheat prices soaring higher again this week, with the knock-on effects on poultry production.

Peter Bradnock, BPC chief executive, said: “The cost hikes are so large that they cannot be absorbed by UK farmers or processors through greater efficiencies and inevitably must be passed on in higher prices.”

He said since the beginning of July, wheat prices had soared by over 50%, while soya had climbed over 30%. Corn, which is often used as a wheat substitute, has jumped 60% in the last three months.

“This is hitting poultry and other food producers worldwide and cannot be sidestepped in the UK through imports,” said Bradnock. “Members of the International Poultry Council (IPC) meeting in Santiago, Chile, earlier this month, were strongly concerned about the rising cost of feed grains on world markets.

“We cannot sit and wait in the faint hope that these costs eventually fall. Our birds have to be fed now at much higher cost and there are no cheaper feed options available. I am confident that retailers and other customers understand the enormous pressure on producers and the crucial need to increase the price they pay for their poultry meat,” he added.