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

Weekly Turkey Production and Prices


Poult Production and Placement:

The November 18th edition of the USDA Turkey Hatchery Report, issued monthly, documented 27.1 million eggs in incubators on November 1st 2019 (29.6 million eggs on October 1st 2019) and down 11.0 percent (3.4 million eggs) from November 1st 2018.

A total of 24.9 million poults were hatched during October 2019 (22.6 million in September 2019) representing an increase of 2.3 percent from October 2018.

A total of 21.6 million poults were placed on farms in the U.S. in October 2019, (19.8 million in September 2019), amounting to 3.3 percent less than in 2018. This suggests disposal of 3.2 million poults during the month. Assuming all tom poults were placed, 25.8 percent of October-hatched hen poults or 12.9 percent of all October 2019-hatched poults were not placed.

For the twelve-month period November 2018 through October 2019 inclusive, 289.4 million poults were hatched and 257.8 million were placed. This suggests disposal of 31.6 million poults. Assuming all tom poults were placed 21.8 percent of hen poults or 10.9 percent of all poults hatched during the period were not placed.

Turkey Production:

The November 22nd 2019 edition of the USDA Turkey Market News Report (Vol. 66: No. 47) confirmed the following provisional data for turkeys slaughtered under Federal inspection:-

  • For the processing week ending November 16th 2019, 2.556 million young hens were slaughtered at a live weight of 16.8 lbs. (last week 17.1 lbs.). During the corresponding processing week in 2018, 1.950 million hens were processed. Ready-to-cook (RTC) hen weight for the week attained 34.5 million lbs. (15,685 metric tons), 26.1 percent more than the corresponding processing week of 2018. Dressing percentage was a nominal 80.5. For 2019 to date RTC hen production attained 1,120.4 million lbs. (509,278 metric tons), 1.9 percent more than during the corresponding period in 2018


  • For the processing week ending November 16th 2019, 2.663 million toms were slaughtered at 41.8 lbs. compared to 2.488 million toms processed during the previous week at 42.6 lbs. For the corresponding week in 2018, 2.278 million toms were processed. Ready-to-cook tom weight for the week attained 89.6 million lbs. (40,740 metric tons), 15.1 percent more than the corresponding processing week in 2018. Dressing percentage was a nominal 80.5 percent. For 2019 YTD, RTC tom product attained 3.80 million lbs. (1,725,074 metric tons), 2.2 percent more than for the corresponding weeks of 2018

· The National average frozen hen price during the past week was 101.0 cents per lb., down 1 cent per lb. from the previous week and up 5 cents per lb. above the three-year average. The following prices rounded to nearest cent were documented for domestic and export trading on November 22 nd 2019:-



cents per lb.

Change from previous Week (%)

Frozen hens



Frozen toms



Fresh hens



Fresh toms



Breasts 4.0-6.5 lb. (frozen)



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)


No new quotation

Mechanically Separated (export)




On November 18th 2019 cold storage holdings at selected centers amounted to 42,372 lbs., 43.1 percent less than the inventory of 74.501 lbs. on November 1st 2019.

The November 22nd 2019 edition of the USDA Cold Storage Report issued monthly, documented a total turkey stock of 394.5 million lbs. (179,310 metric tons) on October 31 st 2019, approximately equivalent to three weeks production and down 11.4 percent compared to October 31st 2018 inventory. The October 31st 2019 value was 25.3 percent below the September 30 th 2019 level due to increased seasonal sales relative to production.

The Whole Turkey category representing 53.7 percent of total storage of 394.5 million lbs. on October 31st 2019, compared to 50.6 percent of inventory on October 31st 2018. Tom carcasses in storage decreased by 20.4 percent from October 31st 2018 to 119.4 million lbs. on October 31st 2019. Hen carcasses in storage decreased by 9.2 percent from October 31st 2018 to 92,445 million lbs. on October 31st 2019.

The "Other" and "Unclassified" categories collectively amounted to 105.6 million lbs. or 26.8 percent of inventory on October 31st 2019. The magnitude of these two non-specified categories suggests that the USDA should attempt to classify product more accurately as to specific product.

October Production

According to the USDA Poultry Slaughter Report released November 25th covering October 2019 comprising 23 working days, 22.2 million young turkeys were processed. (down 6.3 percent from October 2018); live weight attained 682 million lbs. (4.4 percent below October 2018); Average live weight was 30.7 lbs. (2.0 percent more than October 2018); RTC attained 546 million lbs. (down 4.0 percent from October 2018). The proportion of frozen product in October attained 35.1 percent of total produced.


Please review comments on prospects for exports as outlined in the weekly Broiler Report in this edition and the year-to-date export data under the STATISTICS tab.

In early February 2019 a sporadic case of H5 LPAI was diagnosed in a turkey flock (age and type not specified) in Chippawa County, MN. This flock was depleted without lateral transmission and restrictions on Minnesota have expired.

The Newcastle disease outbreak in Southern California appeared to be at an end with the three most recent incident cases on August 14th, August 31st and September 18th. There were no incident cases diagnosed during the previous eight weeks. On November 14 th two cases were diagnosed on two adjacent backyard farms in San Dernardino County. APHIS recorded 453 cases of velogenic viscerotropic Newcastle disease (vvND) in backyard flocks (predominantly "fighting cocks") in the Counties of San Bernardino (144), Riverside (261), Los Angeles (45), Alameda (1), San Diego (1) and Ventura (1) from late-May 2018 to November 15th 2019. A single case of ND was diagnosed in a backyard flock (type and size not specified by CDFA near Redwood City in Alameda County during the week of March 11th 2019.There was no extension from this location.

The successive monthly incidence rate of ND declined in November 2008 but a surge in cases in Riverside County occurred in mid-December 2008. Presumed extension from cases of vvND was confirmed in a flock of 103,000 replacement pullets aged six weeks near Perris, CA. on December 14 th resulting in rapid depletion and disposal. This outbreak was followed by infection of three spatially and temporally related egg production farms with a combined population of approximately 250,00 hens. The infection was diagnosed in a flock of fighting cocks in Utah County, UT. on January 18th 2009 and Coconino County, AZ (near Flagstaff) in early April 2009, presumably due to illegal movement of birds from Southern California. It is understood that the USDA made available $45 million for eradication. These events should not impede exports 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 2018 and the draft document was signed on November 30th. The Agreement must however be ratified by the legislatures of Canada and the U.S. The U.S. turkey industry shipped 173,544 metric tons or 62.6 percent of all turkey exports to Mexico, valued at $389 million during 2018.

Copyright © 2020 Simon M. Shane