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High-welfare Investment in Broiler Farming Needs Secure Chicken Prices

23 December 2013

NETHERLANDS - High and stable prices for their end-products are the main drivers for farmers to invest in high-welfare broiler production systems, according to new research from the Business Economics Group of Wageningen University.

A new study from the Wageningen University reveals that the economic feasibility of systems with improved animal welfare predominantly depends on the price that farmers receive.

Moreover, the study - published in Poultry Science, demonstrates the importance of the level and variation of the price premium for improved welfare, particularly in the first five years after conversion.

Researchers Éva Gocsik and colleagues also found that the economic feasibility of the production system increases with the level of welfare improvements for a sufficiently high price level for broiler meat and low volatility in producer prices. If this is not the case, however, risk attitudes of farmers become important as well as the use of potential risk management instruments, they reported.

Their study - entitled Mid-term financial impact of animal welfare improvements in Dutch broiler production -  used a stochastic bioeconomic simulation model to simulate the business and financial risk of different broiler production systems over a five-year period.

Simulation analysis was conducted using the @Risk add-in in MS Excel.

To compare the impact of different production systems on economic feasibility, two cases were considered. The first case focused on the economic feasibility of a completely new system, whereas the second examined economic feasibility when a farm switches from a conventional to an animal welfare-improving production system.

A sensitivity analysis was conducted to assess the key drivers of economic feasibility and to reveal systematic differences across production systems.


Gocsik É., A.G.J.M. Oude Lansink and H.W. Saatkamp. 2013. Mid-term financial impact of animal welfare improvements in Dutch broiler production. Poult. Sci. 92(12):3314-332. doi: 10.3382/ps.2013-03221 9

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You can view the full report (fee payable) by clicking here.

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