How the UK poultry industry has attempted to meet growing demand for British chicken over the last five years is to be the focus of a study by the country’s National Farmers Union (NFU).

Poultry farmers will be encouraged to reveal how, or if, they have been able to invest in their own businesses to grow the domestic poultry meat industry. The information should better position the NFU in ensuring that the industry has an opportunity to grow in the context of current planning legislation and the taxation regime.

The NFU last conducted a similar survey in 2009, which revealed that the industry had been suffering from poor returns over the previous decade, and this in turn had led to poor capital investment. The 2009 survey revealed that the average age of broiler sheds in the UK was 24 years, with 60 percent of sheds over 20 years old.

The survey is being led by poultry farmer and NFU Poultry Board member Kinsey Hern.

He commented: “As a growing industry, we need to ensure we have a robust and fair planning system so farmers can replace their old, existing sheds with minimal red tape and bureaucracy. At the same time, they also need to be able to expand their businesses to meet a growing demand for quality British chicken meat.

“It will be particularly interesting to see what impact ‘horsegate’ and the subsequent sourcing of British poultry meat by retailers has had on the nation’s stock of broiler sheds.”