September 24, 2008

Rising feed prices fail to dent EU poultry sector


Faced with a tough and challenging year in 2007, EU farmers have not succumbed to the rising feed prices of the poultry sector.

Despite a difficult and challenging year in 2007, both the egg and poultry meat industries of the EU managed to hold their ground last year.


Rising pressure from feed costs throughout 2007 did not have an effect of causing a downturn in production in either sector. Overall, there was a 1-percent rise in egg output and a 3-percent rise in poultry meat output for the EU.


In many member states, there was little change in egg output from 2006-07, but a 12-percent expansion in Spain took production to a higher level, reaching over 1 million tonnes for the first time and a 3-percent expansion in another leading country, The Netherlands, would have taken the EU total to a greater height.


However, a 1-percent cut-back in the massive French sector, alongside a 4-percent decline in UK, output was the main check to overall growth in the EU egg sector.


One effect of these diverging fortunes was that Spain has now taken over France's reputation as the leading egg producer in the EU. French output has been declining for three consecutive years.


As a result of these trends, production in the former EU-25 reached a total of 6.66 million tonnes in 2007. With the accession of Bulgaria and Romania from January last year, the final total for the EU-27 came to 7.13 million tonnes.


Over this period of time, the sector in the EU struggled to move forward. Egg output in the EU-25 was slightly down in 2005 and nearly 2 percent lower than the figures in 2004 and 2002. Only by looking at the situation over the past 10 years has there been any significant growth.


There was an improvement in prices received by egg businesses all across the EU last year, although in the UK, this only reflects the situation of producers chasing higher feed costs.


Dutch producers achieved the largest increase in returns of 24 percent. The egg sectors in France, Spain and Germany saw gains of 17-20 percent. By contrast, UK producers lagged behind with just an 11-percent improvement in returns.


An expansion focusing on the former EU-15 states, led by the Netherlands, Germany and the UK had indications that a small increase can be expected with day old pullet placing up by about 5 million across the EU during 2007.

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