NFU autumn turkey marketing meetings – we look at the figures

First published: 09 November 2022

A headshot of a free range bronze turkey

In September and October, we held our annual series of turkey marketing meetings. NFU poultry adviser Tom Glen gives a roundup of what was on the agenda this year.

It was great to be able to once again share insights and ideas at the NFU’s autumn turkey marketing meetings. Each meeting featured speakers covering cost of production and retail insights, NFU policy updates and a feed and nutrition update.

The meetings also provided a great opportunity for turkey producers to share ideas on tackling the challenges and opportunities of seasonal poultry production.

Estimated cost of production

Each year the NFU uses industry contacts and member feedback to compile a cost of production estimate for a 5.5kg fresh whole turkey. The costings include different elements of production including feed prices and poult costs as well as labour and overheads.

It’s important to remember that every producer is different, so the costings might not exactly reflect everyone’s business, but by looking at the general trends it should give an idea of how much the prices of different elements have changed since last year.

Overall, the NFU estimates that the cost of producing a 5.5kg farmgate Christmas turkey has risen by approximately 17.5% since last year.

Costs components 2021 2022 % change year-on-year
Feed costs (a) £13.42 £17.63 +31.4%
Poult £4.31 £4.67 +8.3%
Brood £0.58 £0.63 +8.2%
Farming costs (b) £3.78 £4.24 +12.1%
Pluck (c) £2.90 £3.13 +8.0%
EV (c) £3.04 £3.28 +8.0%
Packaging costs (d) £1.64 £2.17 +32.3%
Distribution costs £0.90 £0.99 +9.5%
Overheads (e) £9.22 £10.03 +8.8%
Waste removal £0.05 £0.06 +20.0%
Total turkey £39.84 £46.83 +17.5%

a) Feed costs are based on bagged prices quoted for delivery in August 2022
b) Farming costs includes: gas, litter, shavings and labour costs (inc. family labour)
c) Pluck/EV costs based on changes to National Living Wage and National Insurance contributions
d) Packaging costs based on NFU's individual boxes
e) Overheads incorporates the following: shed depreciation over 20 years, machinery, office rents, insurance, admin and IT plus costs for any promotional/marketing activities

Hike in feed costs

The main increases in costs this year compared to 2021 are feed, packaging, labour and energy. Feed prices have continued to rise significantly during the past 12 months, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and volatility in the pound. Our estimated 31% increase in feed costs is based on an August spot price for delivered bagged feed and will vary depending on when and where producers bought their feed.

Impact of National Living Wage and National Insurance 

Labour costs have also risen sharply since last year, with the combination of a rise in the National Living Wage and an increase in National Insurance contributions resulting in an 8% increase compared to 2021. This figure doesn’t take into account any other wage increases needed to attract and retain staff, or the additional costs associated with using the visa scheme for seasonal poultry workers, so producers will need to budget accordingly.

Higher energy costs

The increase in energy cost is reflected in the brood and farming costs, but it should be noted that for consistency with previous years, these figures are based on the July CPI (Consumer Price Index) increase of around 8% and many producers are reporting significantly higher increases in energy-related costs since then.

Insight from feed experts

Attendees at the meetings also heard from feed experts from ForFarmers and Massey Feeds, explaining how producers can get the best out of their turkey feed and delivering insights into how world events and raw material markets are influencing feed prices. Attendees at the North West meetings also received a feed mill tour, hearing about how their rations are created and the pellets manufactured.

How the NFU is supporting producers

The NFU also presented an overview of current policy work, including on seasonal labour and avian influenza, as well as the annual turkey marketing campaign. NFU members can register for a free listing on the NFU Turkey Finder and save 15% off all items at the NFU Turkey merchandise shop. Facebook advertising training was also provided free of charge to NFU members for the third year running, helping producers use Facebook’s advertising services to build brand recognition and drive additional sales from the farm gate.

The NFU would like to thank everyone who attended this year’s meetings and is very grateful for the continued support of ForFarmers, Kelly Turkeys and Massey Feeds who kindly sponsored the 2022 turkey marketing meetings. We wish everyone a successful Christmas!

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