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

U.S. Broiler and Turkey Exports for 2018.


Export data for 2018 indicate a moderate increase in export of broiler parts in comparison to 2017. Total broiler exports for 2018 attained 3,206,324 metric tons, 4.1 percent more than the corresponding period in 2017 (3,080,395 metric tons). Total value improved by 0.2 percent to $3,153 million ($3,146 million).

During 2018 the National Chicken Council (NCC), citing USDA-FAS data, documented exports of 3,447,898 metric tons of chicken parts and other forms (whole and prepared) valued at $3,571 million with a weighted average unit value of $1,036 per metric ton, 4.1 percent higher in value compared to 2017 ($1,067 per m. ton).

The NCC breakdown of chicken exports by proportion and unit price for each broiler category for 2018 compared with 2017 (with the unit price in parentheses) comprised:-

  • Chicken parts 96.0%; Unit value $965 per metric ton ($995)

  • Prepared chicken 2.7%; Unit value $3,553 per metric ton ($3,540)

  • Whole chicken 1.3%; Unit value $1,005 per metric ton ($1,076)

The following table prepared from USDA data circulated by the USAPEEC, compares values for poultry meat exports in 2018 with corresponding figures for 2017:-

PRODUCT 2017 2018 Difference

Broiler Meat

Volume (metric tons) 3,080,595 3,206,324 +125,729 (+4.1%)

Value ( $ million) 3,146 3,153 +7 (+0.2%)

Unit value ( $/m. ton) 1,019 983 -36 (- 3.5%)

Turkey Meat

Volume (metric tons) 282,205 277,087 -5,118 (-1.8%)

Value ($ million) 610 623 +13 (+2.1%)

Unit value ($/m. ton) 2,162 2,248 +86 (+4.0%)

Chicken Paws

Volume (metric tons) 188,449 174,261 -14,188 (-7.5%)

Value ($ million) 282 249 -13 (-4.6%)

Unit value ($/m. ton) 1,496 1,544 -48 (-3.2%)


2018 COMPARED TO 2017


Total broiler parts exports in 2018 compared with the corresponding period in 2017 increased by 4.1 percent in volume and 0.2 percent in value. Unit value decreased 3.5 percent from $1,019 per metric ton to $983 per metric ton.

The U.S. broiler industry sells mostly leg quarters, an undifferentiated commodity, in a relatively static and price-sensitive market against competition from other exporters and the domestic production in importing nations. The gain in value of the U.S. Dollar relative to the currencies of Brazil, Argentina and Thailand adversely impacts competitiveness.

The top five importers of broiler meat represented 43.5 percent of shipments during 2018. The top ten importers contributed 60.7 percent of the total volume.

Mexico was the largest importer of broiler meat from the U.S. during 2018 with 20.3 percent of volume and 16.3 percent of total value and a unit price of $793 per metric ton. Unit value in December 2018 declined by a significant 41.5 percent to $721 per m. ton compared with December 2017 but with volume up 5.5 percent contributing to a 6.3 percent decrease in total value.

Angola was the 2nd ranked importer by volume with 209,399 metric tons comprising 6.5 percent of broiler parts shipped. This Nation increased their import volume from the U.S. during 2018 by 19.0 percent compared to 2017.

Taiwan was the 3rd ranked broiler meat importer receiving 199,271 metric tons representing 6.2 percent of volume and 5.8 percent of value with a unit price of $923 per ton. Taiwan increased purchases by 29.4 percent over 2018 compared to 2017.

Cuba continued as the 4th ranked importer in 2018 with 6.1 percent of volume but 5.2 percent of value attributed to the product mix with a unit price of $791 per metric ton. It is hoped that this trade worth $161 million in 2017 and $154 million during 2018 will not be compromised by injudicious diplomatic activity or politically inspired restraints. This market is courted by both Brazil and Argentina.

South Africa was the subject of considerable litigation and Congressional pressure in 2015 and in 2016. The nation ranked 10 th during 2018 with imports of 97,590 metric tons of in-bone product with a total value of $87.1 million (Unit value of $892 per metric ton). The volume of 95,254 m. tons imported in 2017 represented 3.1 percent of U.S. exports and was 165 percent higher than in 2016. In December 2018 South Africa ranked 14th for the month importing 5,743 m. tons valued at $4.6 million, respectively lower by 39.4 percent and 44.5 percent compared to December 2017. South African domestic producers continue to oppose imports from the U.S., the E.U. and Brazil using legal and political pressure. Prospects for continued exports to the RSA were restored by exempting the Nation from tariffs on steel and aluminum in accordance with the AGOA on which the 2016 importation agreement was based. Results for December 2018 suggest that removal of U.S. duties on steel and aluminum have maintained imports. As an incidental issue it is apparent that exports of leg quarters to South Africa are transshipped to neighboring nations including Mozambique.

There is consistent expansion of the ten, second-tier nations importing broiler meat with average monthly volumes ranging from 3,000 to 8,000 m. tons. This is attributed to the promotional activities of USAPEEC and their regional representatives interacting with traders.


The volume of turkey meat exported during 2018 declined by 1.8 percent but value rose by 2.1 percent compared to 2017 due to unit value increasing by 4.0 percent from $2,162 per metric ton to $2,248 per metric ton in 2018.

Mexico received 62.6 percent of turkey meat shipped during 2018 (173,544 m. tons) representing almost the same quantity as in 2017, (174,474 m. tons). Exports to Mexico represented 62.5 percent ($389.3 million) of the total value of $622.7 million exported.

Hong Kong, the 2nd-ranked importer of turkey meat increased volume by 14.3 percent in comparison to 2017 attaining 15,626 metric tons. For December 2018, imports declined 50.3 percent to 688 m. tons compared to December 2017.

South Africa 6th-ranked for 2018 with 5,412 m. tons emerged as the second-ranked importer of turkey meat in December 2018 with 700 m. tons valued at $0.9 million or $1,286 per metric ton suggesting a low-cost product mix including MDM.

Collectively for 2018 the Caribbean (including the Dominican Republic) and Central America represented 13.6 percent of turkey meat exports and 12.7 percent of value.


Exports of chicken paws during 2018 declined by 7.5 percent in volume compared to 2017 at 174,261 metric tons and with a 4.6 percent decline in total value. There was a 3.2 percent decline in unit value to $1,544 per metric ton. Hong Kong imported 93.0 percent of leg and paw shipments.

Trade in feet and paws was impacted by the unjustified blanket embargo imposed on the U.S. by China, our largest importer of paws at the beginning of May 2015. This action included all imports from the entire U.S. following outbreaks of H5N2 strain avian influenza in turkey grow-out operations, egg-producing complexes, non-commercial farms and wild birds in the Northwest and North Central states. These areas were completely separated from regions with broiler production.

According to the March 7th USDA Cold Storage Report the stock level of Paws and Feet as at January 31st 2019 increased by 13.8 percent to 32.8 million lbs. compared to January 31st 2018



The February 14th 2018 Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook Report, the first released after the Federal shutdown projected broiler exports of 3.248 million metric tons in 2019, 1.3 percent above 2018 and representing 16.6 percent of total RTC production of 19.59 million metric tons.

Projected exports of turkey products will amount to 277,000 metric tons, a 0.7 percent increase compared to 2018 and representing 10.3 percent of 2019 production projected to be 2.689 million metric tons.

The Administration successfully renegotiated NAFTA into a new trilateral agreement termed the USMCA on September 30th. It is important to recognize that exports of chicken and turkey products to our NAFTA partners amounted to $1.288 billion in 2017 and $1.279 billion for 2018.

Approximately 390 diagnoses of END were recorded in backyard flocks of predominantly fighting cocks in southern California and four cases in commercial egg production units. Diagnoses of LPAI have been made in organic commercial turkey farms in northern California followed by nine LPAI H5N2 cases among three counties in Minnesota during the past two months. These sporadic and rapidly-diagnosed and quarantined outbreaks should not affect exports of broiler or turkey products from the remaining non-affected counties in the U.S.

The live-bird market system, backyard flocks, fighting cocks and laying hens with outside access and potential contact with migratory birds represent an ongoing danger to the entire U.S. commercial industry and these segments of poultry production place at risk the eligibility of the industry to export.

Copyright 2019 Simon M. Shane