EU poultry production has put in another year of strong growth in 2013 – the fourth in a row – helping to offset declines in both beef and pig meat production.
According to the EU Commission’s latest Short Term Outlook report, total poultry meat supply this year will reach 12.5m tonnes, an increase of 0.8% compared to 2012.
Of the major producing countries, the UK has led the way with a 3.6% increase, followed by Germany and, to a lesser extent, France. Exports of poultry meat in 2013 are also expected to show an increase, having climbed 2% in the first six months. The recent phasing out of export refunds for frozen chicken appears to have had little overall impact.
On the import side, the EU has seen lower volumes (-10%) coming from Brazil due to production constraints, offset by higher imports from Thailand (+50%) which received the green light to start shipping raw poultry meat again, after the outbreak of avian influenza in July 2012. This import growth has been fuelled by firm EU domestic consumption, says the report, with record prices for poultry meat over the last eight months. Values have moved in a narrow band of €1.9-€2/kg (£1.60-£1.70/kg) carcass weight.
Looking ahead, the report sees a different picture for poultry meat in 2014, with beef production recovering due to the improvement in producer margins and the increase in the availability of dairy calves. In addition, the adaptation to the new welfare rules in the pig sector should be completed and should imply a halt in the decline in sow numbers and an increase in pig slaughterings.
As such, poultry meat production is forecast to slow, showing a 0.7% increase in 2014, compared with 0.8% this year, 2% in 2012 and 3.9% in 2010. Poultry meat prices are also expected to ease in the year ahead due to decreasing feed cost, says the report, pointing to the larger cereal, oilseed and protein crops this harvest, relieving the tightness at the start of the marketing year.
Source: Farmers Weekly