Costs have soared in the rearing of the flightless bird making it more expensive for farmers to land them on our tables this Christmas.
Brexit means British farmers have to pay their European workers higher wages, and with the pound losing strength prices have jumped significantly.
Paul Kelly, the chairman of the British Turkey Federation and boss of KellyBronze, a free range producer, said the industry was being forced to increase prices because of a 5% to 7% rise in costs.
A scorching summer has already affected crops and as a result dinner staples including onions, potatoes and sprouts are also rising in price
The development is the latest in a list that may make this the most expensive Christmas dinner in recent memory.
A scorching summer has already affected crops and as a result dinner staples including onions, potatoes and sprouts are also rising in price.
The dry summer across Europe has affected the wheat yield making a ton of the crop more expensive, £25 more than last year.
This is significant because it is used in the feed for the turkeys. The fall in the pound has also reduced UK buying clout.
Mr Kelly told the Guardian he had also had to put up wages to protect take home pay for the 95 workers he hires every year from eastern Europe, who account for 77% of his total workforce at peak times.
He guaranteed an exchange rate against the Polish złoty to tempt regular workers back, which he said cost him ‘a lot of money’.
A ton of wheat, used to feed our Christmas dinner mainstay, is also £25 more expensive
But ‘at least we can get the work done’, he added.
The experienced farmer also added that unsavoury attitudes emanating from Brexit has scared off high quality workers from the likes of Poland who now feel unwelcome.
He said would have to slash the size of his business by at least 70% if workers did not come over from Europe because the UK government made it harder for EU citizens to work in the UK after Brexit. ‘It would just be me and my dad. It’s a hell of a worry.’
It had already become harder to attract workers from eastern Europe, he said. ‘The emotional side of things means they don’t want to come here. They don’t feel welcome and don’t see a future.’
Kelly said that further hiring problems would be a tragedy as sales were increasing and the company, which raises 45,000 birds a year, expected to sell 5% more this year.