Under supply in UK chicken production is opening up new revenue streams for farmers looking to diversify their operations.
With the UK only able to account for 73 percent of the country’s poultry meat demands, and a need to become more self-sufficient following the EU referendum vote, there are good opportunities for those wanting to get into the industry and for existing producers to expand.
There is also a steady growing demand for white meat, being an affordable and lean protein option which has benefited from the rise in celebrity chefs using chicken in many of their recipes.
In addition, modern poultry buildings and renewable technologies have been embraced by producers reducing their reliance on fossil fuels and keeping their costs of production down.
Ben Compton, rural specialist at Bruton Knowles is now advising those looking to lay the foundations for a productive future to seriously consider chicken farming as a viable option.
Ben said: “Chicken farming is presently more stable than both beef and dairy. Demand for white meat is on the rise and returns are better. The costs of obtaining planning and establishing a new site from scratch are substantial but there are still good returns for those that are willing to take the calculated risk.
“Other beneficial factors include the financial returns available through renewable technology projects. The latest technologies use chicken litter fed through a biomass boiler to generate electricity and heat, creating an almost completely carbon neutral site that can export power to the grid as well.
“Using chicken litter to provide heat and electricity also reduces the reliance on other biomass fuels such as wood. I know of one farmer who will slash his electric and wood chip bill by more than £100,000 per annum by converting to this system.”
Ben is now advising any farmer or landowner who thinks they could diversify into the sector to undertake comprehensive feasibility and valuation studies first before deciding whether to go ahead.
Ben added: “It may seem like a simple matter to convert redundant or unproductive land over to poultry production, however we’d advise a robust assessment first.
“Bruton Knowles has arguably the most experienced rural team in the country providing independent poultry and renewables valuation advice and it would be a prudent course to take as we’d rather farmers end up with a golden rather than rotten egg!”