World events often bring bad news for Britain’s farmers, but good news continues to confirm the development of one sector.
Free range egg production is enjoying continued year on year growth, an opportunity that has not gone unnoticed by farmers working in less predictable sectors.
According to the National Farming Union’s State of the Farming Economy report (July, 2017) egg production has recovered from a low point in 1988 when junior health minister Edwina Curry declared that salmonella was rife in British eggs.
Several developments have contributed to the recovery in egg production.
- Lion eggs - The British Lion independent code of practice has rebuilt public trust in eggs. Last month, the Food Standards Agency declared that Lion Mark eggs, are salmonella free.
- Positive media coverage - Eggs have received positive coverage in recent media as a `super food’, packed with healthy protein, vitamins and mega-3 fatty acids, while happy, free range chickens have replaced the battery hen in the public imagination.
Egg production growth: comparing numbers
APHA figures show that chick continue to rise, with the national flock rising to hitting 38.7 million birds in May 2017, two million birds more than in May 2016.
- In 2016 British hens laid 10,372 million eggs, with, on average, more than 34.5 million consumed every day.
- It is estimated that there are over 21 million of those being Free Range.
2017 cereal production fell again , with 2 million tonne less wheat than the record yield of 2015, which along with a weaker price due to high world stock levels suggests returns from arable farming are not improving., Farm gate milk prices have also fallen in recent months.
DEFRA’s own estimates show that total income from farming in the UK fell for the third consecutive year, with a 7.5% fall in profitability in 2016.
A golden future?
As uncertainty due to factors like Brexit and climate change continue, the ongoing growth of the free range egg sector indicates its increasing appeal for farmers willing to invest and diversify.
Humphrey Feeds and Pullets have helped independent poultry farmers to optimise flock performance, welfare and profit since 1932.
If you have any questions relating to free range egg production, or anything related to it, please get in touch here or call us on 01962 764555.