While chicken prices are rising due to rising costs of feed, the ongoing paddy procurement crisis has exacerbated the situation. Since the rice mills are not grinding the paddy as the state government has not announced a levy, the price of rice bran used as poultry feed has risen.
The feed, which is primarily used for layer population, now costs around 16 Rs/kg up from 13 Rs/kg a few days ago. For the first time since the state’s formation, the industry is obtaining wheat bran from Punjab and rice bran from other states, including neighboring Andhra Pradesh. The state has a layer population of four crore, which is much larger than the broiler population. Rice bran along with soya protein and maize is used as poultry feed.
There are various types of rice bran used as feed with varying protein percentages. The cost of bran with 14 per cent protein is slightly less than the cost of feed with 18 per cent protein. “The oil content in the 18 per cent feed is higherand availability of this particular feed is difficult now,” said a senior official in the animal husbandry department.
After the griding at the rice mills, bran is transported to the oil factories where oil is extracted. More oil is retained in the 18 per cent protein feed.Small farmers are worried as they will have to shell out more for feed. As it is, their margins have shrunk despite the fact that consumer market rates are high. “If the procurement does not start immediately, not only the poultry but the dairy sector will also face severe problems leading to increase in prices,” poultry farmer Rajiv Amaram said.