Belfast Telegraph

Poultry giant boosts production by 16% with £180k of incubators

By Audrey Watson

Northern Ireland poultry giant Moy Park has invested £180,000 in four revolutionary incubators resulting in an increased capacity of 16%.

The new incubators have been installed at Moy Park's parent stock hatchery in Craigavon and give the food processing company greater control over temperature, humidity and ventilation.

They also consume 20% less energy than previous machines.

The new incubators were supplied by Belgium-based company Petersime and are used by poultry processing companies all over the world.

As well as improving hatchability, the state-of-the-art technology will enhance the welfare of the chicks by monitoring and supplying precise levels of fresh air and oxygen during three weeks of incubation.

Moy Park, which is Northern Ireland's largest private sector business, recently announced it has increased its output to five million chickens per week for the first time in the company's 72-year history.

This represents an increase of 60% in the past six years; growing from approximately 3.1 million birds per week in 2009.

It also processes more than one million turkeys annually.

To ensure the highest quality meat and to keep tight control of product traceability, Moy Park owns three generations of birds - grandparents and parents (used for breeding) and the shop product.

Stephen Bamford, Moy Park's grandparent manager, said: "The results we have witnessed so far from the new system have been fantastic. The sophisticated technology continually monitors the temperature of the eggs and adapts to fluctuations to ensure chicks are of a consistent, high quality.

"We are committed to delivering industry-leading operating processes and facilities, and this is another example of our commitment to that goal."

Moy Park was recently acquired for $1.5bn (£945m) by Brazilian food group JBS SA after it was off-loaded by fellow Brazilian food giant, Marfrig in a deal worth almost £1bn.

It supplies branded and own-label chicken products to leading retailers and food service providers throughout the UK, Ireland and Europe.

It also produces beef products, vegetarian products and desserts.

It's a long way from the modest farm in Moygashel, Co Tyrone, where the Moy Park journey began in 1943. Back then its focus was on dairy products, potatoes and eggs.

Today, Moy Park has 14 processing facilities across the UK, Ireland, Holland and France and is the UK's biggest poultry processor, employing more than 6,300 workers in Northern Ireland. Last year its pre-tax profits rose by 39% to £33.7m. For the 13 weeks to June 27, 2015, the company reported revenue of £360m compared to £356m for the same period the year before.

The company said revenue increase was driven by "good volume growth". Chief executive Janet McCollum said: "We continue to invest in our high quality asset base to ensure we have the capacity in place to facilitate further efficient growth."

Belfast Telegraph