"There are three types of turkey breeders: light, medium and heavy. You can find the heavy breeders mainly in Brazil, Germany, Italy, America and England. In France, they are less heavy because the eggs and chicks used to be exported to the Mahgreb areas in Africa. The people over there generally eat lighter meat turkeys as a whole, less 'cut-ups'."
Peter-Bart Lichtenbeld is Regional Sales Director Africa at Vencomatic Group, he has a lot of experience with Vencomatic's turkey nests systems: "There are about six million turkey breeders worldwide, almost half in Europe and the other half in America. Every country has some turkey breeders, but most are in North America and France. It's a very specific market."
Are the differences between regions big?
"Yes they are. In Europe we have smaller barns, the family owned farms are often more resourceful when it comes to technical issues. In America you mainly see larger breeder farms with employers and external insemination teams. In France on the other hand, you see integrations that mainly work with 'contractors': husband and wife with two or three breeder houses. The French are real turkey specialists."
"Eating turkey is also very culturally determined, if you go out to eat in France you can order 'dinde' everywhere and in Germany, England and the US it is also much more established. In the US, of course, turkey is especially popular at Thanksgiving. Of all the turkey meat in the world, 41% is consumed in that country, much more than in number two Brazil, where they consume almost 8%."
How did Vencomatic Group deal with those cultural differences?
"We have always made the nests out of plastified wood, that is still our main material. In further development, we worked a lot together, in the beginning with Dutch turkey farmers. After that, we mainly worked with German and French farmers, because the market is much bigger there. After Germany, we expanded to France, Spain and Scandinavia, which were real growth markets. Then we began in Canada and the United States."
"After North America, we also started in Brazil, where we first did tests at a large company and started with turkey laying nests there. However, a kilogram of broiler is much cheaper there than a kilogram of turkey, so the need to invest has become less."
What is special about Vencomatic's turkey nests?
"The turkey mother animal sector is very labour intensive, with manual egg collection the turkey has to leave the nest every hour, otherwise they will become broody too quickly and will not lay eggs. When customers use an automatic nest from us they have more hatching eggs, because we have less bruising and breakage, and cleaner eggs."
"Our nests produce one to two more hatching eggs per hen, the eggs are also cleaner. Our nests are also more comfortable and the costs for maintenance are lower than other mechanical systems. We have had an important customer in the United States who used to have Vencomatic mechanical systems on his farm. He was once a top seller for a competitor, but he said 'I always competed against you, but you were actually always the best'. That says a lot, of course."