Chicken Farmers Still Waiting For Higher Prices

US - The demand for chicken litter as agricultural fertilizer has soared in recent months, largely fueled by higher natural gas costs and increased ethanol production.
calendar icon 12 June 2007
clock icon 2 minute read

But chicken farmers like Al and Bev Saunders aren't throwing any parties over the news.

"There's a bigger demand and people are willing to pay more, but I haven't seen a huge price coming back to the farmers," Bev Saunders said. "The increased prices are being absorbed by transportation costs. Much of that is going to pay for higher diesel prices."

The Saunders raise nearly 100,000 chickens per flock in five to six flocks per year on their farm near Colcord, Okla.

The exercise generates a substantial amount of litter, but rising demand isn't enough to entice the farmers to sell their chicken waste.

"We will use ours to fertilize our own 540-acre cattle farm," said Bev Saunders, who also is manager of Poultry Partners, a group of local poultry producers. "I'd like to be able to sell the litter and pay for the bedding, but I also need the fertilizer. Using our own saves me the cost of commercial fertilizer, and we get a better product."

Chicken coups use beddings of sawdust, wood chips, rice hulls or other materials to absorb the chicken droppings.

The cost of the bedding material has soared far faster than the farmers' litter sales prices. The result has eaten even further into the farmers' profits.

Source: ScrippsNews

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