Poultry processor Moy Park has responded to discontent among its suppliers by offering a “substantial increase” in payment rates to broiler growers.

A letter circulated among suppliers on Tuesday states that the gross margin target for broiler units stocked at 38kg/m will rise by £40/1,000 birds.

Broiler houses that are at the lower stocking rate of 30kg/m will see an increase of £50/1,000 birds.

On a typical broiler unit with 40,000 birds and seven crops per year, the higher stocking density pay rise equates to over £11,000.

“This is all flown through direct cash income and comes after costs,” the letter from Moy Park states.

However, some growers have pointed that criteria for various bonuses are also changing, so the headline pay increase will not be felt on all units in full.

The payment rise is part of Moy Park’s annual cost review, although it follows on from a growing number of suppliers leaving the poultry processor to take up table egg production.

Strong consumer demand for eggs, coupled with tight planning rules for new sheds, has seen egg packers from across the UK offer lucrative contracts to local poultry units.

The recent upheaval is referred to in Moy Park’s latest letter to suppliers, with the poultry processor pointing out that its contracts tend to be well insulated from market volatility.

“We fully acknowledge the challenges faced by our business in light of recent significant profitability spikes seen in other sectors.

“I hope you will acknowledge that historically chicken production in NI has not suffered from peaks and troughs in terms of farm incomes, as seen across other agricultural sectors,” the letter reads.