Monday, December 11, 2017

Ontario turkey has some bright spots

Chairman Brian Ricker is optimistic about markets for Ontario turkey, despite some national struggles with burdensome inventories of whole birds.

He said the demand for further-processed turkey continues to grow in Ontario and the Turkey Farmers of Ontario marketing board recently licenced two new processors.

Abington at Caisterville will be processing for the kosher market where demand, currently met by imports, is about 100,000 birds per year.

Conscious Cuisine of Dundalk is the other newcomer.

“That gives us another couple of outlets for our birds,” Ricker said.

Another particularly bright spot is keen demand for Butterball cut-up turkey sold fresh. That falls into the further-processed category which in Ontario has increased by about 12 million kilograms over the last decade.

The national agency has cut allocations for whole-bird production by three million kilograms to 60 million for the upcoming fiscal year.

Ontario’s share of that is 29 per cent, or about 870,000 kilograms. That will be partially, and perhaps almost totally, offset by increases for the further-processed category.

Allocations in that category reflect requests filed by each further-processing company; their requests are audited by the national agency to avert over-production.

Ricker said Quebec has also seen an increase in demand for further-processed turkey because a retailer there has introduced a new product.

Ontario also has two organic turkey producers now, both marketing into the further-processed category, Ricker said.

Ricker said the national agency decided to make a cut now, rather than waiting for December stocks statistics as a couple of provinces advocated, because those statistics won’t be available until mid-January, the board won’t meet to discuss those figures until February and and implementation wouldn’t come until March.

That is too late for processors to make effective plans, he said.