Report Reveals 2013 Challenges of the Irish Poultry Sector

IRELAND - According to a new report from the agriculture department, output by the Irish poultry sector in 2013 was down by eight per cent in value and 14 per cent in volume compared to 2012.
calendar icon 11 July 2014
clock icon 4 minute read

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, has announced the publication of his Department’s Annual Review and Outlook for Agriculture Food & the Marine, 2013/2014.

The Minister said that 2013 showed the important role that the Irish agri-food sector has played in aiding economic recovery.

He said: “Agri-food exports increased by nine per cent to a record value of €10 billion in 2013, accounting for almost 12 per cent of all goods exports. The sector accounts for around nine per cent of total employment, and makes a particularly significant contribution to employment in rural areas. Capital investment in agriculture has risen 79 per cent in the last three years, with investment in farm buildings increasing by 58 per cent to €460 million in 2013 alone.”

However, there are challenges ahead. Ireland is a small open economy and volatility in world commodity prices can have serious adverse consequences in terms of lower prices for our produce or higher prices for our inputs.

“I urge farmers to plan for contingencies, including price volatility, unforeseen weather events, and plant and animal disease risk”, Minister Coveney said.

The Food Harvest strategy set ambitious targets for 2020: to increase the value of primary output by one-third, and the value of both exports and value-added by around 40 per cent; compared to the baseline period of 2007 to 2009.

Minister Coveney added: “Progress to date has been very positive. The value of overall primary output is already more than three-quarters of the way to its FH2020 target, while the value of both food and beverage exports and GVA is half-way there.

“This publication provides a reference for all those who are interested in the performance of the agri-food sector. I expect the agri-food sector to play an integral part in the recovery of our economy and the continued viability of our rural and coastal areas.”

Poultry & Eggs

General market situation

Poultry meat has long been seen as a value-for-money food and this has underscored an increase in demand, particularly in recent years, according to the report.

However, the poultry sector has continued to face considerable challenges during 2013. The price of compound feed and cereals stabilised during the year, albeit at higher levels than in previous years and this, together with energy costs and significant pressure from imports, has presented difficulties for producers.

Output in Ireland

In 2013, the output value of the poultry sector was €145.5 million, eight per cent lower than in 2012.

Output value and volume of poultry in Ireland in 2012/2013
Value (€m) No. ('000) Value (€m) No. ('000)
158.4 75,983 145.5 65,002
1 Early estimate
Source CSO


While input prices reduced somewhat, producer and wholesale prices in the sector increased marginally throughout 2013. Poultry is normally reared under contract to processors for a pre-agreed price and therefore, poultry producers are not subject to the same price fluctuations as other farmers. EU broiler prices declined slightly during 2013 but there was a small recovery towards the end of the year.


Slaughtering of poultry amounted to 77.45 million birds during 2013 - a decline of over 12 per cent on 2012 levels. Chicken slaughter accounted for the vast majority of this fall with a reduction in slaughter capacity arising from the closure of two plants impacting on growers.


The value of Irish poultrymeat exports in 2013 is estimated to have reversed the trend evident in recent years and grown by around four per cent. The value of exports increased to some €230 million, with a drop in fresh and chilled shipments being offset by an increase in processed products. The value of exports to both the UK and International markets were largely unchanged, with levels to Continental Europe increasing.

Outlook for 2014

Irish production is forecast to remain stable during 2014 as EU and international production is estimated to increase marginally. However, the impact of cereal price changes will influence output decisions by producers as the year progresses.

Further Reading

You can view the full report by clicking here.

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