Poultry farmers across India are expecting brisk business in the coming days. They feel a further revision in egg prices is on the cards, as the month of Sharavan is over. Also, a surge in demand from Kerala may aid business.
The rise in prices of eggs this month, from Rs 2.40- 2.50 per egg to Rs 3.00-3.20 per egg, had helped poultry farmers tackle escalating feed costs. P Tamil Arson, owner of Namakkal-based Pepe Farms (which has about 500,000 birds), said with stable demand, the revision in egg prices offered relief to farmers, as input prices were likely to remain high.
Arson added though poultry farmers used substitutes of conventional feed like soya, maize and rice bran, these didn't help. "If we substitute the conventional feed with cheaper alternatives like guarmeal, cotton seed and palm cake, we save about Rs 2 a kg on feed, but it effects production. So, we land up in the same situation," he said.
Devender Ahlawat, general secretary of Haryana Poultry Farmers Association, said DDJS (distillery-based feed) available at Rs 6-7 a kg few months ago, was now sold at Rs 30 a kg. So, now, if the demand for a new variety of poultry feed rose, so would prices.
Poultry farmers feel the overall price revision of the food basket has fetched better prices for eggs, as the cheaper options (vegetables and pulses) are unavailable to consumers.
K K Sardana, joint managing director of Surjit Startch and Chemicals, said the prices of corn gluten (protein-based poultry feed) almost doubled in the last few months, owing to a rise in maize prices. This drove many farmers to buy cheaper alternatives. Currently, maize prices stand at Rs 1,160 a quintal (in Bihar) and Rs 1,300 a quintal (in Delhi).
The rise in egg prices has also stretched the culling period of birds from 60 weeks (two months earlier) to 72 weeks. Ideally, a bird should be culled after 80 weeks. But rising feed costs have made it unviable for poultry farmers to rear birds for long. If egg prices rise, the culling period of birds may also increase, said a poultry farmer.