On our farm we are now planning in earnest for 2010. How many breeders to keep (and how many of each breed), how many chicks to start on the farm – all are decisions we need to make, and soon. Our chick sales for 2009 were down from our sales for 2008 – but right now we think our sales for 2010 will be steady or up some. We’ve been contacting our biggest customers – it’s so early though, and many of the customers just don’t have a feel for how their mature sales will go this fall, let alone know yet how many chicks they want to start in 2010.
It’s still in the 80’s each day here, and very few preserves in our local area have really started yet. We are shipping to the far west (Oregon and Washington) and to Quebec – but our South Dakota business is just getting started. It’s just premature to make any calls on how the season will go. Many “destination” preserves report bookings down 15%-25% (some high end preserves have said bookings are down 50%), yet I’m hearing last minute bookings are being made. Perhaps as the perception our economy is recovering, last minute hunting trips to South Dakota (or Iowa, Nebraska, etc,) will be made.
In the meantime, we’ve got to make plans. We’re starting on breeder selection and placement in the next couple of weeks. We’ll be keeping 30,000+ pheasant breeding hens, and unless we get started soon, we’ll be rushed to get the job done.