A shortage of trained labor is forcing Indian poultry farmers to turn to automation to keep their businesses running, in spite of increased input costs.

Resistance to higher short-term costs turned to acceptance when calculations showed that automation actually saves farmers money over a five-year span, said Poultry Federation of India spokesman Ricky Thaper. The cost of automation on a typical commercial broiler farm comes in at Rs 80-100 per bird, depending on the exact level of automation adopted. However, said Thaper, the savings in terms of feed waste, labor cost, improved growth and efficiency more than outweigh such cost in the long run.

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Many equipment manufacturers are taking advantage of the new trend, said Thaper, providing automation options to layers, broilers and breeder farms.