The Irish poultry sector, like many of our farming sectors, has shown unbelievable resilience over the last two years to keep its farms producing food in spite of the huge challenges it faced. Rocketing energy prices and record feed prices hit the poultry sector particularly hard, coupled with increased pressure from processors and packers.

A relatively small number of processors and packers have a large say in prices being paid to poultry farmers for their produce and all eyes will be on Joe Healy in his new role as chairperson of the board of the Agri-Food Regulator to see what he can do bring more fairness and transparency to the poultry sector, in particular.

Egg producers have had to fight tooth and nail with packers and retailers over the last two years to get closer to a breakeven price for eggs to stay in business.

Falling feed prices towards the end of 2023 have relieved some pressure on farms but, as a sector, it faces many challenges.

Nitrates is one of those challenges. A heavy population of poultry farms in Cavan and Monaghan compounds this issue as there is very little tillage area to take poultry litter. This means that the cost of transporting this off farm is big and poultry farmers now find themselves competing with dairy farmers to find farms capable of importing their nutrients.

Avian influenza is a huge threat to the Irish poultry industry and Dr Carla Gomes takes a look at some improvements that could be made to biosecurity plans on poultry farms to avoid disease outbreaks.

Bord Bia markets specialist Peter Duggan takes a look at the global poultry market and outlines a positive outlook for poultry markets in 2024.