Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Chicken pricing up for change

The Ontario government is proposing to change the way chicken is priced by the Chicken Farmers of Ontario marketing board.

It’s not clear from its posting on the internet whether the proposal originated with the government or the marketing board.

The main change is to develop a so-called “model farm” as the basis for determining the cost of production.

That will be blended with a survey of production costs.

That, then, will become the basic information used to determine the minimum prices processors must pay members of the chicken marketing board for chickens.

This formula would, as is the case now, be updated each quota period with current data on chick and feed costs.

The public has until Nov. 6 to submit comments to John Fitzgerald, marketing analyst for the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission at 1 Stone Road West, Guelph, N1G 4Y2 or john.fitzgerald@ontario.ca .

Last year the commission intervened to force the chicken board to reduce prices to reflect much better feed conversion rates that were being used.

One of the most significant improvements the commission could make is to change feed pricing from the current survey of feed mills to using transparent market prices for corn and soybeans as a proxy for feed costs.

That would eliminate any possibility of hanky lanky which seems to occur now, given the unusually higher price increases for poultry feed costs in the chicken pricing formula as compared with dairy, beef and hog rations. Poultry, beef, dairy and hog rations all use corn and soybean meal as the main ingredients.