Farmers were reassessing their plans with uncertainty over what restrictions may be in place at Christmas
Turkey farmers are reassessing their Christmas plans after fears coronavirus restrictions on numbers at social gatherings could hit sales of larger birds.
Preference for joints and crowns has been steadily increasing in recent years and would likely increase further this year, according to British Poultry Council chief executive Richard Griffiths.
He said some producers would be considering whether to slaughter some larger birds earlier and freeze them or turn them into smaller joints.
“There is no easy answer,” he said, adding it was difficult to make decisions with so much uncertainty around.
But Mr Griffiths said there may be an opportunity to sell more smaller birds and joints as people will want to celebrate Christmas after a difficult year, even with restrictions.
For Jade Stock, Out and About Poultry, Herefordshire, orders had been coming in ‘thick and fast’.
But they had made a decision in March to only order birds smaller than 12lbs.
“Customers are really keen to buy local and support local business,” she said.
“They have also had a bit more time to think about it and are more organised. A lot have already made plans and know they will not be doing a big Christmas. Some people are relishing it.”
Susannah Pate, a turkey farmer near Dundee, said they were planning for extra butchery with people ordering more joints. They had also already received Christmas orders.
They were also considering their options on collections, as they usually tried to create an ‘experience’ at the farm, which was part of many people’s Christmas tradition.
“We will do drive-through collections if it is required but if we can keep that experience we will do.”
Most of their trade was already done through their website in advance but they would be making it ‘as easy as possible’ for customers to order online.
Ms Stock said they delivered birds across the UK and some customers came to collect on-farm, generally paying cash or cheque.
“We are going to have to put some card payment processes in place,” Ms Stock said, adding they were also preparing to have a non-contact drive in, drive out system."