BE THAT NEIGHBOUR
Be that neighbour
Best wishes to everyone in the New Year. Dutch layer farmers will need them. The Dutch union of poultry producers, the NVP, predicts that 2016 is likely to be a difficult year for layer farms. Production in the United States is increasing, so much so that the import of European eggs will expire. In the meantime, European egg production is on the rise, resulting in a supply that will exceed demand. This expected trend is already influencing the current egg prices, according to the NVP.
The poultry producers’ union bases its expectations on EU figures on eggs, which were recently presented by the European Union. After the devastating highly pathogenic AI outbreaks in the United States this year, production in the US is quickly picking up again. Flocks of layers that have not been culled are being moulted, and repopulation is in full swing. As from 1 January 2016, the Americans will no longer need to import eggs from Europe to supplement their own production, which fell by 15 percent due to AI. The lucrative stream of European eggs crossing the ocean will come to a halt. This summer, the Dutch – for the first time ever – were allowed to export the equivalent of 100 million eggs, equating to 1 percent of our total production, which was very welcome during our low season.
Moreover, the EU estimates that European egg production will rise by 2,4 percent in 2015, and increase with a further 1,8 percent in 2016. For the coming year this will lead to a relatively high supply compared to the demand.
“This is already having a depressing effect on the egg prices,” the NVP reports.
In the short term, the seasonal Christmas peak will result in a temporary upswing in egg prices, but after that there will be more than enough eggs on the European market.
Too many free-range eggs
In the Netherlands, the production of free-range eggs (produced indoors) is also exceeding the demand. From the side of the egg processing industry, the demand for Freiland eggs – from layers with free range access to the outdoors – is growing at the expense of the indoor free-range egg segment. Especially in Northern Europe, consumers are more interested in and concerned with animal welfare. As opposed to Southern Europe, where there’s more acceptance for eggs that are produced in (Eu-accepted) enriched cages.
According to the poultry producers’ union, the problem is that there is no European supply chain management. Poultry producers should unite and regulate the supply, the NVP says.
“But as long as poultry farmers do not (yet) want to unite, because they lack confidence in the positive effects of such measures, production in the developing egg and poultry meat producing countries like Poland, Ukraine and Turkey will keep increasing, while the European demand barely grows,” analyses NVP. “Everyone is waiting for ‘the neighbour’ to take that first step, before they themselves are willing to take action.”
The organisation hopes that in 2016 the realisation will arise that every farmer can be this neighbour, and that the European supply can be regulated a little more, for the benefit of everyone’s egg price.