La energy bill rapidly growing poultry farms heat wavethreatens the chicken supply after the summer. The increase in gas and electricity prices has affected farms in the Region and the rest of Spain. the extreme situation endangering the continuation of meat production, As reported by the person in charge of animal husbandry Small Farmers Association (UPA), Carlos Esparcia. The agriculture organization warns that farmers will lose 10 to 15 cents for every animal they raise; this will put many farms out of business if meat companies don’t raise prices and push the market into a “chicken shortage” from October. .
Carlos Esparcia explained to La Opinion that the fattening period of a chicken takes about two months. “There will be no production in two months unless the animals currently on farms are changed to start a new cycle”he warns.
There are about 240 or 250 chicken farms in the area. According to their calculations, about 27 or 28 million birds contribute each year.
However, it provides rising production costs caused by the energy crisis“The increase in chicken meat sold in supermarkets and department stores has not reached producers working for ‘integrated’ firms.”
calls integrated companies Meat companies that raise chickens and deliver them to farmers for take away when they’re the right weight. In addition to providing the necessary facilities for fattening, poultry farmers are also responsible for the care of the animals during their stay on the farm.
UPA argues energy bill is unsustainable for farms, given that farms dedicated to raising birds have high electricity consumption in summer and gas in winter to always maintain the temperature of the enclosures where the animals are housed. As Esparcia explains, chickens need gas-generated heat when they’re small, and when the weather’s nice, they need cooling given the large number of animals concentrated on farms.
Losses in the region could reach 3.5 million
According to the estimates of Carlos Esparcia, Head of Livestock of the Small Farmers Union (UPA) in the region, the losses that Murcian chicken farms will face as a result of the increase in energy costs will be around 3.5m euros. In all of Spain, the UPA calculates that losses would reach 75 million at the end of the year if the companies they work for don’t “pay more for the chickens” they’ve been feeding for months.
Currently, it is estimated at around 32 million, taking into account the increase in energy bills. “Electric power accounts for 75% to 80% of variable operating costs for integrated poultry farmers.”
In addition, the most used propane gas per kilo increased from 0.85 to two euros. “The average farm used to spend 2,000 euros on propane and has now spent 5,000 euros”, an “unbearable” cost for farmers. According to the UPA, “farmers seek loans to cover their expenses.”
In a statement, the agriculture organization assures that “the poultry employers’ association has met with its leaders and is demanding that farms comply with the Food Chain Act and cover the costs of production.” He argues that “a farmer cannot charge less than 0.55 or 0.60 euros for a chicken”, although they charge lower amounts, which is insufficient. This newsroom contacted the meat companies Avianza organization to find out their version of the conflict, but received no response.
Moreover, Heatwaves recorded since May this year “triggered electric bill tripling electricity bill”although the companies with which these farms work have not reviewed the prices they pay to the producer who raises and feeds the animals.
“You lose less than 60 cents per chicken”, provides Esparcia. He adds that the prices paid by meat companies are around 45-50 cents, so they do not cover their production costs.
However, he states supermarkets and department stores raise meat prices they sell it in their stores for about one euro per kilo. “The consumer went from paying between 2.20 and 2.50 euros per kilo to spending between 3.20 and 3.50 euros,” he says.
“There are those who are considering stopping”he assures, given the difficulties of continuing to pay for the losses caused by the increase in cooling expenditures.
UPA calculates this “Spanish consumers pay 35% more for chicken than a few months ago”. But poultry farmers are getting almost none of this increase, so their profitability has plummeted, making it impossible for the farms to survive.”
The organization warns that the situation is “critical” and could lead to “a nationwide chicken shortage in October, given the impossibility of meeting the farms’ costs.”
Carlos Esparcia adds that poultry farms have invested heavily in improving the conditions in which the animals are raised and include control systems that ensure the proper temperature is maintained at all times of the day, as well as ventilation or ventilation. Food supply.
Although there is no generational change, he states that “the average age is one of the lowest” in the agricultural sector, given that he is around 45 years old. “Many young people have invested in this sector,” he says, but the agriculture organization criticizes that many of the beneficiary companies “continue to work without signing contracts with farmers and allowing them to cover production costs.”
Carlos Esparcia: “We no longer remember the pandemic”
“We no longer remember the pandemic,” he complains Carlos Esparcia, Head of Animal Husbandry of the Small Farmers Union (UPA), prior to the situation when farmers in the region were devoted to raising chickens.
Esparcia recalls “when the supermarket shelves were empty” because consumers initially feared running out of stock and looted the products they found until they realized that supply was fully guaranteed.
After the crisis caused by the slowdown in the economy, there was a shortage of supply from abroad, which became more expensive in 2021 with the increase in maritime freight prices. The invasion of Ukraine in 2022 prevented grain exports from this country, as well as from Russia, which led to an increase in grain and animal feed prices.
Ukraine’s difficulties in maintaining exports forced it to seek alternative suppliers on other continents. “We don’t realize how dangerous it is to depend on third countries,” warns Carlos Esparcia. Given the challenges facing livestock, the UPA is calling for the implementation of the Food Chain Act so that poultry farms are not forced to work at prices below costs.