No doubt 2021 was a difficult year – a pandemic, high raw materials costs, labor shortages, changes in consumption trends and so on. Many companies in Latin America have been stagnant or even decreased production. However, this does not necessarily mean low profitability, as has been shown in the U.S. and even in Mexico. Bachoco just reported an increase of almost 25% net profit in its Mexican operation in 2021.

But then, while talking to a Mexican broiler producer, there is another challenge on the front: not enough fertile eggs. It seems that males are lacking in the grandparent flocks which has therefore decreased hatching. Also, where spiking is conducted, hatching is also affected. A spiking program can be very effective in helping to maintain excellent flock fertility.

So having grandparent flocks is becoming strategic. Because of the long-standing avian flu problems in the country, many producers moved to buying foreign fertile eggs, particularly from the U.S. It is not cheap to do so though, and considering the present fertility problems, this is becoming a challenge.

It might also be interesting to buy fertile eggs from South American countries as well, such as Brazil and Argentina. However, they have fowl typhoid, according to my contact, but it is an avian flu-free area. So, the market might be of interest. It only remains to be seen how the logistics and freight costs might be, particularly in these times.

While doing some research, I found out that last May Tyson reported in the U.S. a problem with fertility in certain males. This caused less hatching and therefore less one-day-old chicks to grow. The supply problems they had were coupled with high demand from fast-food chains.

This poses an interesting challenge for breeding companies. Nevertheless, we all know that breeding takes some time, so maybe there is no immediate solution. On the other hand, Mexico needs to put more pressure to declare more avian flu-free areas where grandparent stock can be developed to supply the hungry Mexican broiler industry, and who knows, maybe beyond.

What do you think?