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Biosecurity Accounts for Broiler Farms' Total Production Costs

by 5m Editor
29 June 2012, at 9:40am

FINLAND - A study by the Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira and MTT Agrifood Research Finland examined the costs incurred for Finnish poultry farms by preventive biosecurity.

The major cost factors on broiler producers comprised the use of an exclusion product for the prevention of intestinal disturbances in newly hatched chicks and the use of coccidiostats in broiler feed as a preventive measure to control coccidiosis.

The study represents one of the first attempts to determine the total farm-level costs of biosecurity during a disease-free period.

Biosecurity is always the more cost-effective option in comparison with a disease outbreak

In international comparison, poultry health status is outstanding in Finland, and all actors in the industry are committed to maintaining it. Due to the rapid production cycle, even a mild disease outbreak on a poultry farm has an immediate impact on the producer’s costs. The costs of more serious diseases for the entire industry, including producers, can amount to millions of euros in the worst case scenario. Such diseases can also result in the destruction of all birds on a farm and/or lengthy interruptions in production.

The maintenance of biosecurity measures is therefore sensible for a number of reasons. For instance, the same measures are generally effective against all pathogens, preventing them from spreading or from lowering their quantities in the birds’ living environment. Measures performed on the farm also protect the entire remaining poultry production chain and provides the foundation for biosecurity along the entire production chain.

Costs incurred from biosecurity even in disease-free period

Our results indicate that the average cost of biosecurity was some 3.55 eurocent per bird for broiler producers (0.10 eurocent per bird per rearing day). The corresponding costs for hatching egg producers were 75.7 and 0.27 eurocent. Hence the cost per bird per rearing day for hatching egg producers was three times that of broiler producers. For a batch of for instance 75,000 broilers the total cost was around 2,700 euros.

As regards overall working time, broiler farms spent 8 per cent and broiler breeding farms 5 per cent on biosecurity. Approximately 2 per cent of the total production costs of a broiler farm were incurred through ensuring biosecurity.

The studied material dealt with producers for various processors in relation to their market share, covering some 10 per cent of all producers in Finland. The study is one of those implemented in the project ‘Perspectives on poultry meat production in Finland - competitiveness, consumption and trade’, implemented by Evira , MTT, the National Consumer Research Centre and the University of Helsinki.