Bronze will account for two out of every three traditional turkeys this Christmas for the first time for many decades, according to Paul Kelly, managing director of FarmGate Hatcheries.
“We’ve seen a continuing trend to bronze and with another 5% growth this year we reckon bronze will represent more than 65% of the traditional market,” says Kelly. “That hasn’t happened since the 1950s before the white feathered turkeys began to dominate the market and all but took over completely by the 1980s.”
The trend back to bronze is slower in the north. “Perhaps it’s because farmers there are more cost conscious. We’re expanding our production in Scotland and that’s all bronze which is what our customers seem to want there.”
Although overall poult sales are down by around 2% at this stage there are signs that farmers are ordering later this season. “I believe that many farmers are contacting their customers first and finding they’re likely to order a similar number of birds this year. Even in difficult times many families don’t want to economise on the favourite meal of the year — and, it seems, retailers are expecting fewer families to eat out at Christmas. So the farmer’s turkey could benefit at the expense of the catering turkey.”
For farmers wishing to economise on production costs at a time of high feed prices, Kelly continues to advise buying as-hatched poults for at least one third of the order. “A small strain stag will do just as well as a large strain hen,” he adds.
Source: Kelly Turkeys
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