I’ve had a couple previous posts on both the supply of and demand for slower growing chickens. There have been increasing calls for retailers to switch to slower growing breeds (often, older “heritage” breeds), with the presumptive aim to increase animal welfare and taste. The downside is that it is more expensive to produce chicken with these older breeds. The Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics has now published a paper I co-authored with Nathan Thompson at Purdue University and Shawna Weimer, an assistant professor of poultry science at the University of Maryland on the costs for individual producers switching to slower growing breeds and the market impacts we project would occur if the entire industry did the same. This is an updated and peer-reviewed version of the paper I previously blogged about.
Here is the abstract:
Don’t like some of our assumptions? We’ve also created an excel-based tool that allows the user to change assumptions about input and output prices, as well as other model parameters, and see how costs and optimal days of feed change for faster and slower growing breeds. The tool dynamically updates figures like the one below. Try it for yourself!