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US Poultry Outlook - August 2011

by 5m Editor
17 August 2011, at 12:00am

High feed prices will curb production next year, according to the USDA Economic Research Service in its <em>Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook</em> for August 2011.

Broiler meat production increased strongly during the first six months of 2011 (up 4.8 per cent), growth in the first quarter was 6.4 per cent higher than the previous year and second-quarter production was 3.3 per cent higher than a year earlier. In the second half of 2011, broiler meat production is expected to decline as lower bird numbers offset an expected increase in average bird weights. Higher feed costs and slow growth in the domestic economy are expected to combine to reduce production.

Turkey meat production is expected to decline in the second half of 2011 as the number of birds available for slaughter decreases. Poult placements on a year-over-year basis have been lower for the last three months.

Production of table eggs in the second half of 2011 is expected to be about even with last year.

Broiler Meat Production Up Five Per Cent in June

Broiler meat production in June totalled 3.3 billion pounds, up 4.5 per cent from the previous year. The June production increase pushed total production for second-quarter 2011 to 9.5 billion pounds, 3.3 per cent higher than in second-quarter 2010. This is the fourth consecutive quarter of three per cent or more year-over-year increases in broiler meat production. In first-half 2011, broiler meat production was 18.8 billion pounds, 4.8 per cent higher than a year earlier. This year-over-year growth in broiler meat production is expected to halt in third-quarter 2011, with production estimated at 9.4 billion pounds, 1.3 per cent lower than in third-quarter 2010. Lower production is expected to continue in the fourth quarter, with production in the second half of 2011 expected to total 18.6 billion pounds, a decrease of two per cent from the same period in 2010.

Over the first half of 2011, the number of broilers slaughtered was 4.3 billion, an increase of two per cent from a year earlier. The other factor in broiler meat production growth during the first half of 2011 has been higher average live weights at slaughter. During the first six months of 2011, the average live weight at slaughter was 5.79 pounds, up 2.4 per cent from first-half 2010. In second-half 2011, the number of broilers slaughtered is expected to be down significantly from the previous year but average bird weights at slaughter are expected to remain well above the previous year throughout the second half of 2011.

The number of chicks being placed weekly for grow-out has averaged approximately 165 million during the five-week period from 9 July to 6 August. This is down over four per cent from the same weekly period in 2010. Weekly placements of broiler eggs in incubators point to continued declines in the number of chicks available for grow-out compared with the previous year. Over the last four reported weeks, the number of eggs being placed in incubators has averaged almost six per cent lower than during the same period a year earlier.

Even with relatively strong exports, the strong increases in production and a weak domestic economy have led to an increase in broiler meat stocks. Cold storage holdings at the end of the second quarter totalled 710 million pounds, 12 per cent higher than a year earlier. One factor in the increase in cold storage holdings was higher stocks of breast meat products. Breast meat in cold storage was estimated at 155 million pounds, 47 per cent higher than the previous year. Stock changes for leg meat products were mixed, with holdings of drumsticks and leg quarters up 39 and 14 per cent. Partially offsetting these increases were declines in the cold storage holdings for legs, thighs and thigh meat.

With the generally weak economy and the strong growth in production in second-quarter 2011, the estimates for ending stocks for the third and fourth quarters of 2011 were increased. The estimate for third-quarter 2011 was raised to 685 million pounds and the estimate for fourth-quarter 2011 was increased to 700 million pounds.

In 2011, wholesale prices for broiler products have generally declined compared with a year earlier. Prices for whole birds averaged 82.6 cents per pound in the second quarter of 2011 and are forecast to average 81 to 83 cents per pound in the third quarter. Even with falling production in the second half of 2011, whole bird prices are not expected to strengthen much. The forecast for fourth-quarter 2011 is only 81 to 85 cents per pound. In 2012, as lower production begins to impact stock levels, broiler prices are expected to experience some upward price pressure. However, any upward pressure is expected to also depend on a gradual strengthening of economic conditions.

Turkey Production Rises Six Per Cent in First-Half 2011

Turkey meat production during the first six months of 2011 was 2.9 billion pounds, 5.5 per cent higher than in the same period in 2010. The increase in turkey meat production was due to a higher number of birds slaughtered, up 4.6 per cent, along with an increase in live weights at slaughter. Over the first six months of 2011, live turkey weights averaged 30.1 pounds, up 1.1 per cent from the same period in 2010.

The forecast for turkey meat production in the second half of 2011 is 2.9 billion pounds, down slightly – less than one per cent – from the same period in 2010. The decrease in turkey meat production is expected to come chiefly from a smaller number of birds slaughtered, as average live weights at slaughter are expected to continue slightly higher than those of the previous year.

Over the first six months of 2011, the number of turkey poults placed for grow-out totalled 139 million, up less than one per cent from the same period in 2010. However, on a year-over-year basis, poult placements have been lower than the previous year over the last three months.

After declining on a year-over-year basis for the previous seven quarters, turkey stocks at the end of second-quarter 2011 were 510 million pounds, marginally higher than the previous year. Although turkey meat production is expected to be lower in the second half of 2011 than the previous year, turkey stocks are expected to remain above their year-earlier levels through the end on the year.

At the end of second-quarter 2011, whole birds stocks totaled 271 million pounds, down three per cent, and stocks of breast meat were 72 million pounds, eight per cent lower than the previous year. However, any explanation of changes in turkey stocks is complicated by the fact that 148 million pounds of the cold storage holdings are in categories labelled ‘other’ and ‘unclassified.&sdquo;

Stocks of whole turkeys are still lower than the previous year, and the number of birds slaughtered in the second half of 2011 is expected to be lower than the previous year. Both these factors point to continued strength in prices for whole birds. Prices for whole hens in second-quarter 2011 were $1.00 per pound, and the price for third-quarter 2011 is forecast at $1.04 to $1.08 per pound. Prices are expected to strengthen ever further in the fourth quarter to $1.06 to $1.12 per pound, slightly higher than the previous year.

Egg Production Rises in First-Half 2011

In the first half of 2011, production of table eggs was 3.3 billion dozen, up about one per cent from first-half 2010. However, production of hatching eggs fell by 0.7 per cent compared with the previous year. The decrease in hatching egg production was chiefly the result of the gradual decline in broiler chick production for grow-out. Hatching egg production in the first half of 2011 was 532 million dozen. Production of table eggs in the second half of 2011 is expected to be about even with the previous year, and production is expected to be lower on a year-over-year basis in the first two quarters of 2012. Production of hatching eggs, especially those from meat-type birds, is expected to decline in the second half of 2011 as broiler chick production continues to be below the previous year.

Even with higher table egg production in second-quarter 2011, prices for eggs remained strong and averaged almost $1.07 per dozen, up 24 cents from second-quarter 2010. With little or no growth expected in the second half of 2011, prices are expected to be above the previous year in third-quarter 2011 at $1.04 to $1.08 per dozen. However, with the weak economy, egg prices in fourth-quarter 2011 are expected to be lower than the previous year at $1.12 to $1.18 per dozen. The weak economy is expected to provide less of a seasonal boost in prices than in other years.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.


August 2011