Farmers are warning of a Christmas turkey shortage because visa changes to allow labour recruitment from abroad have come too late.
A poultry association said big producers have already scaled back because they assumed they would not have enough staff to process birds.
As part of the changes, 5,000 HGV drivers will be allowed into the UK on similar contracts in an attempt to keep supermarket shelves stocked and petrol stations supplied with fuel.
Kate Martin, chairwoman of the Traditional Farm Fresh Turkey Association, said: "This year it's looking like there is a national shortage of turkeys when we're talking about supermarket shelves, rather than buying direct from your farm.
"It is the supermarket shelves that will be emptier of turkeys this year than they have been before, only because there have been less turkeys placed on the ground; only because the big processers know that they will not get them processed."
She said some members of her association had already seen a rise in orders, with one reportedly seeing a 400% increase on last year.