Turkey farmers have warned that there could be a shortage of turkeys this Christmas because of a combination of the outbreaks of avian flu this year and a hike in the costs of producing the birds.

According to the NFU, soaring production costs are putting the poultry sector under “immense pressure”, as the cost of animal feed has risen by a whopping 70 per cent because of the loss of grain feed from Ukraine and Russia.

In addition, in the face of the largest and longest outbreak of bird flu the country has ever seen, many producers feel it is not worth the risk to produce turkeys this year, as they easily catch avian flu and die from it very quickly.

Finally, the last nail in the coffin for many producers is that there is such a shortage of seasonal workers to help prepare the birds for consumers. They are blaming this on Brexit and are calling on the Government to do more to help them.

The turkey group chairman at the NFU has confirmed there will definitely be “a reduced production of turkeys for Christmas”. He added that several smaller turkey farmers are not going to do turkeys this year, while other larger producers have decided to cut back by as much as 50 per cent, just to reduce the risk.

However, the spokesman insisted that producers are doing everything they can to make sure there are plenty of quality, British turkeys available for everyone to enjoy this Christmas.

The reduction in numbers will also have a knock-on effect on prices, with restaurateurs being warned that they are likely to have to pay a “premium price” for turkeys in the run-up to the festive season.

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Posted in Agriculture, Blog.