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Email Content: Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

Weekly Turkey Production and Prices


Due to the Federal shutdown the monthly Turkey Hatchery Report was not issued and the Turkey Market News Report was incomplete. CHICK-NEWS has assembled FSIS and USDA market data to produce a Weekly Turkey Production and Price Report. Pre-shutdown data and text is in 10-point type. The normal format will be posted when USDA publications resume

Poult Production and Placement:

The December 14th edition of the USDA Turkey Hatchery Report, issued monthly, (the last before the Federal shutdown) documented 28.4 million eggs in incubators on December 1 st 2018 (30.4 million eggs on November 1st 2018) up 2.3 percent (0.6 million eggs) from November 1st 2017.

A total of 25.1 million poults were hatched during November 2018 (23.3 million in October 2018) and up 7.8 percent from November 2017.

A total of 21.1 million poults were placed on farms in the U.S. in November 2018, (21.6 million in October 2018), 1.5 percent more than in November 2017. This suggests disposal of 4.0 million poults during the month. Assuming all tom poults were placed, 31.2 percent of hen poults or 15.5 percent of all November poults hatched were not placed.

For the twelve-month period December 2017 through November 2018 inclusive, 285.3 million poults were hatched and 266.3 million were placed. This suggests disposal of 18.9 million poults. Assuming all tom poults were placed 13.2 percent of hen poults or 6.6 percent of all November poults hatched were not placed.

USDA will release the next monthly report in late-January 2019 following resumption of operations after the Federal shutdown.

Turkey Production:

The February 1st 2019 edition of the USDA Turkey Market News Report (Vol. 66: No. 05) confirmed the following provisional data for turkeys slaughtered under Federal inspection:-

  • For the processing week ending January 26th 2019, 1.206 million young hens were slaughtered at a live weight of 17.0 lbs. During the corresponding processing week in 2018, 1.730 million hens were processed. Ready-to-cook (RTC) hen weight for the week attained 17.1 million lbs. (7,767 metric tons), 27.9 percent less than the corresponding processing week of 2018. Dressing percentage was a nominal 80.5. For 2019 to date RTC hen production attained 84.95 million lbs. (38,613 metric tons), 4.5 percent less than during the corresponding period in 2018


  • For the processing week ending January 26th 2018, 2.291 million toms were slaughtered at 42.6 lbs. compared to 2.407 million toms processed during the previous week. For the corresponding week in 2018, 2.527 million toms were processed. Ready-to-cook tom weight for the week attained 78.5 million lbs. (35,695 metric tons), 9.1 percent less than for the corresponding processing week in 2018. Dressing percentage was a nominal 80.5. For 2019 YTD, RTC tom product attained 313.5 million lbs. (142,494 metric tons), 6.3 percent less than in the corresponding week of 2018

  • The National average frozen hen price during the past week was 82.5 cents per lb., 0.3 cent per lb. lower than the previous week and 15 cents per lb. lower than the three-year average. The following prices rounded to nearest cent were documented for domestic and export trading on February 1st 2019:-



cents per lb.

Change from previous Week (%)

Frozen hens



Frozen toms



Fresh hens



Fresh toms


No new quotation

Breasts 4.0-6.5 lb.


No new quotation

Breasts (B/S) tom


No new quotation

Drums (toms for export)


No new quotation

Wings (V-cut tom)



Wings (V-cut hens)


No new quotation

Thigh Meat (frozen for export)



Mechanically Separated (export)




On January 28th 2019 cold storage holdings at selected centers amounted to 82,668 lbs. down 4.9 percent from an inventory of 86,957 lbs. on January1st 2019.

The December 21st 2018 edition of the USDA Cold Storage Report (the last to be issued before the shutdown) issued monthly, documented a total turkey stock of 274,123 million lbs. (124,601 metric tons) on November 30th 2018, approximately equivalent to three weeks production and down 5.0 percent compared to November 30th 2017 inventory. The November 30th 2018 value was 38.4 percent below the October 31st 2018 level due to increased seasonal sales relative to production.

The Whole Turkey category representing 33.8 percent of total storage of 274.1 million lbs. on November 30th, compared to 37.8 percent of inventory on November 30th 2017. Tom carcasses in storage decreased by 16.4 percent from November 30th 2017 to 51.5 million lbs. on November 30th 2018. (150.1 million lbs. on October 31st 2018) Hen carcasses in storage decreased by 13.3 percent from November 30th 2017 to 41.2 million lbs. on November 30th 2018 (101.8 million lbs. on October 31st 2018).

The "Other" and "Unclassified" categories collectively amounted to 89.4 million lbs. or 32.6 percent of inventory on November 30th 2018, 8.3 percent below November 30th 2017. The magnitude of these two non-specified categories suggests that the USDA should attempt to classify product more accurately as to specific product.



Please review comments on prospects for exports as outlined in the weekly Broiler Report and the year-to-date export data under the STATISTICS tab. Exports should not be impacted by previous isolated sporadic cases of LPAI in Missouri and Texas since the 90-day period expired in June. Four recent sporadic LPAI H7 cases involving turkey and mixed species flocks with outside access located in Stanislaus County, California were diagnosed in late September. Four cases of H5N2 LPAI were diagnosed in Stearns County and four in Kandiyohi County in Minnesota from October 19th through November 29th. All of these flocks held under quarantine have been subjected to controlled marketing without evidence of lateral spread of infection.

APHIS has recorded 231 cases of vvND in backyard flocks (predominantly "fighting cocks") in the Counties of San Bernardino (104), Riverside (87), Los Angeles (39) and Ventura (1) from late-May to December 20th. It is presumed that the total number of confirmed cases is approaching 300 to date although data has not been updated since December 21st 20019 due the Federal shutdown. It is understood that CADF personnel are working. The successive monthly incidence rate declined in November but a recent surge in cases in Riverside County occurred in mid-December. A vvND isolate was obtained on surveillance from a live-bird market in Los Angeles in October. A case of vvND was confirmed in a flock of 103,000 replacement pullets aged six weeks near Perris, CA. on December 14th resulting in rapid depletion and disposal. This was followed by two spatially related egg production farms with a combined population of 250,00 hens. The infection was diagnosed in a flock of fighting cocks in Utah County UT on January 18th presumably due to illegal movement of birds from Southern California. These events should not impede exports. This is based on the acceptance of the OIE principle of regionalization by Mexico and other major importing nations.

The Administration concluded a last-minute modification to NAFTA to create the trilateral USMCA on the last day of September and the draft document was signed on November 30th. The Agreement must however be ratified by the legislatures of all three signatories. The U.S. turkey industry shipped 143,969 metric tons or 62.6 percent of all turkey exports to Mexico, valued at $323 million during the first ten months of 2018

Copyright © 2020 Simon M. Shane