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Decline in number of organic egg layers in UK

Pulished on Jun. 20, 2022

Decline in number of organic egg layers in UK

Phoenix Breeding Equipment

The number of organic egg layers in the UK declined last year, according to the latest figures published by Defra.

The government's organic farming statistics for 2021 shows just over two million organic layers across the country last year.

This represented 5% of the 41 million-bird overall layer flock, with the exact figure for organic birds listed as 2,015,300.

In the previous year, the figure was 2,031,700 - 5.1 percent of the overall flock of 40 million.

Looking at England only, numbers were also down - in 2021 there were 1,411,700 organic layers, or 5.7% of the 25 million-bird flock.

In 2020 the figure was 1,515,800, representing 6.2 percent of the overall flock of 25 million birds.

Despite the figures for layers, Defra provided a positive report overall on the state of organic farming in the UK.

It revealed that land going through the two-year conversion period to organic rose by 34% in 2021, compared to the previous year.

UK organic land also rose by 3.6% last year, following a rise of 0.8% in 2020, according to the report.

The report was welcomed by the Soil Association Certification, which said it was 'encouraging' to see heightened confidence in organic farming.

Sophie Kirk, of the Soil Association Certification, said: "Our farming sector has dealt with many shocks over the last few years.

"But opportunities for sustainable farming remain strong with rising consumer demand and government support for organic.

It is clear both government and shoppers are waking up to the benefits organic can deliver for nature and the environment, and these latest figures show that, with the right incentives, nature and climate friendly farming can grow rapidly.

Recent egg statistics released by Defra indicate that supplies of organic eggs have increased at the start of 2022 compared with early 2021.

The number of organic eggs handled by UK packing stations in the first three months of this year was 299,000 cases.

This was up on the 292,000 cases in the first quarter of 2021, although it was down on the 303,000 cases handled by packing centres in the final quarter of last year.

Earlier this year the Soil Association said that sales of organic eggs were outperforming non-organic eggs.

It said that the UK organic market overall was now worth more than £3 billion, as it released its annual organic market report, which showed that sales grew by 5.2% in 2021.

Shoppers spent almost £60 million on organic products every week, continuing 10 years of positive growth for the organic sector.

Data source: FarmingUK Team

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