New independent data has revealed that a typical free range egg farm is on course to lose more than £300,000 (USD$347,499) per flock as industry leaders call for unity from across the sector. The cost of feed, electricity, labor, and other essential materials continues to be at record levels, causing farmers to lose nearly £10 per hen, according to consultants at ADAS.
The British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA) has called for the whole industry to come together by signing its Egg Pledge, a commitment to work towards a more sustainable future and stop businesses collapsing.
Data produced in October shows losses are being caused by rises in production costs and BFREPA says the only solution is for farm-gate prices to rise. “We know the cost of living went up 10.1% in the 12 months to September, and rising food prices was the key contributor,” said BFREPA CEO Robert Gooch. “Farmers have seen small rises in the price they are paid for their eggs, but it’s nowhere near enough for their businesses to be sustainable,” he added. “We need the whole industry to collaborate and try and fix this broken market.”
ADAS puts the total average cost of a flock of 32,000 hens at £1.24 million, with average revenue from egg sales only bringing £921,000. This unsustainability has led to some producers being forced to cease production altogether.
Industry predictions are that both production costs and egg demand will continue to increase over the winter, causing many more farms to suffer as this crisis continues.
BFREPA launched the Egg Pledge at its annual conference in Birmingham in September. Gooch said the Egg Pledge aims to unite the sector behind a commitment to work together for a better, more sustainable future, and is urging all businesses involved in free range production to sign the pledge, which already has 300 signatories. This month, BFREPA will be approaching all egg packers and retailers to ask for their support. Everyone who signs the pledge will have their commitment documented on the Egg Pledge web page and will be kept updated about the pledge’s progress.
“It is of the upmost importance that we do everything we can do bring about positive change in the industry, so that producers receive the support and success that they need.”