News 1544 views update:Mar 9, 2016

France on its way back as major EU turkey producer

For many years France had taken the lead in EU turkey production. But when other countries geared up France lost its top position. However, recovery is now in sight.

A growth of 2.4% in 2012, put an end to the 12 years decline in France’s turkey production. It reached 414,000 metric tonnes in carcass weight equivalent (tcwe) last year, coming from 405,000 tcwe in 2011. Yet it is still far from its highest ever level of 763,000 tcwe, which it achieved in 2000. This historic peak occurred when Italy had been caught by avian influenza. The extra demand was added to the already good national consumption and export levels. It was long time ago when the price of turkey meat was lower than broiler.

The 2012 growth brought France back to its leading position in turkey production that it had lost in 2010 to Germany. Germany’s production level grew from 292,000 tcwe in 2000 to 400,000 tcwe last year.

The other big European turkey producers are Italy (+4.5% to 288,000 tcwe in 2012), Poland (flat from 2007 to now around 275,000 tcwe) and UK (177,000 tcwe in 2012). The UK had once held 3rd position with nearly 300,000 tcwe until the end of the 90’s, but growth in Germany and Poland knocked them down the production leader board.

EU production is now slightly above 1.9 million tcwe with a +2.15%. Strong competition comes from Brazil with 442,000 tonnes and a +26.8% growth in exports last year (reaching 170,000 tonnes).

Although EU production showed a growth in 2012 thanks to France, Italy and UK, European commission experts expect minus 0.6% for the running year.

The recovery of French production is mainly due to individual weight growth of turkeys, reaching now 11.3 kg/head, a 9% growth in one year which is mainly due to late slaughtering. It provides more meat fit for industrial use. The total number of turkeys fell by 5% in 2012 compared with 2011. And the trend remains the same for 2013 with the same range of weight and the number of birds housed (-8.9% in January 2013 compared with January 2012).

Consumption in France also went up in 2012 to 309,500 tonnes, while imports remained the same at 42,400 tonnes. However, exports declined to 104,500 tonnes.

An extensive article on this topic will appear in the Volume 29 – No 08 edition of World Poultry.  Don’t miss this issue. Sign up for the digital edition click here.

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