Damate completes largest turkey meat plant in Europe

Russian turkey producer, Damate, has announced the completion of its new processing facility, which has an annual capacity of 155,000 metric tons (mt).

(Austin Alonzo)
(Austin Alonzo)

Russian turkey producer Damate has announced the completion of its new processing facility, which has an annual capacity of 155,000 metric tons (mt).

Located near to the firm’s turkey farms in the Penza region, the processing plant is the largest in Europe, according to Damate.

Investment in the plant amounted to more than RUB11 billion (US$171 million), and is expected to allow the firm to reach its expansion target by 2020.

The company already employs more than 2,000, and the workforce continues to grow.

“State-of-the-art equipment and technologies, a vast number of innovative solutions take turkey meat processing to a new level,” said Group Chairman Naum Babaev. “And what’s more important, they enable us to produce quality, safe and fresh product.”

Line speed at the new plant is 6,000 birds per hour, and a system of cameras linked to intelligent video analytics offer a higher level of quality control as well as improved surveillance of the operations and personnel. Unlike other facilities that use water, the new Damate plant uses air to chill the carcasses.

Damate Group began its turkey operation in 2012. It is a vertical integration, with its own hatchery, brooding and fattening sites, crop production, grain elevator and feed mill.

Less than two years ago, Damate announced its aim to double its output of turkey meat to 155,000 tons per year with an investment totaling RUB15.5 billion. Turkey breeding and fattening capacities were to be expanded, new hatchery and brooding facilities added, and the processing plant was to be upgraded with additional lines.

Mixed fortunes for Russia’s turkey sector

Within the past month, Russia’s largest meat producer Cherkizovo Group announced it was considering a second phase of expansion at Tambov Turkey, a joint venture with Grupo Fuertes. The plan would allow the company to increase its turkey meat output by 50%.

Compared with the previous year, Cherkizovo achieved an output of turkey meat in 2018 of 39,000 mt — an increase of 49% year-on-year. The firm claims to have a 14% share of the Russian turkey meat market by volume.

This year, another Russian turkey meat producer, Rostov-based Eurodon Group announced the completion of the latest improvements to its meat processing complex.

In February 2019, a company spokesperson said the firm was urgently seeking a strategic investor to help it out of its difficulties. At the time, the firm had around 34,000 turkey breeders and 930,000 meat birds.

In 2017, Russia produced 6.61 million metric tons of poultry meat, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service. Of the total, turkey meat was estimated to account for 5.5% or approximately 363,000 mt.

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