Study: Productivity of labour on broiler farms

02-09-2009 | | |

The Animal Sciences Group (ASG) from Wageningen UR in the Netherlands published a new report which looked at the differences in labour productivity between broiler farms and investigated the factors that explained these differences.

For the research more than 400 ‘regular’ broiler farmers were approached with a questionnaire about their farm. A total of 115 questionnaires were completed, but only 93 of them were useful to determine the productivity of labour. There were questions about farm size, additional farm activities, density of broilers in the house, and labour time for the different farm activities. To calculate the productivity of labour, also information about the broiler’s performance (live weight, mortality, length of production period and empty period between two flocks) is needed.

Farm size had a large influence the productivity of labour. Furthermore, farms with a successor present had the lowest productivity of labour (434 kg per hour), whereas farms where this is uncertain or unknown had the highest productivity (537 kg per hour). This is probably explained by a surplus of labour on the farms with a successor. Nearly all farmers have certain agreement with the slaughterhouse about delivery of broilers. The few farmers without such an agreement had a lower productivity of labour. Agreements with hatchery or feed company had no effect on the productivity of labour. The 69% of the broiler farmers that cleaned the housing by themselves realized a lower productivity (451 kg per hour) compared to farmers who hired external personnel2 (607 kg per hour) or partly hired external personnel (565 kg per hour).

In conclusion, the researchers found a large variation in the productivity of labour among the broiler farms. Farm size explained a large part of this variation. Furthermore, it is useful for broiler farmers to consider whether they have farm activities which other companies can carry out more efficient (for example cleaning of housing) in order to increase the productivity of labour.

Related link:

Full report (in Dutch)

Natalie Berkhout Freelance journalist