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

Turkey Week


Weekly Turkey Production and Prices January 8th 2020


Poult Production and Placement:

The December 16th edition of the USDA Turkey Hatchery Report, issued monthly, documented 26.9 million eggs in incubators on December 1st 2020 (26.7 million eggs on November 1st 2020) and up 1.7 percent (0.5 million eggs) from December 1st 2019.


A total of 22.2 million poults were hatched during November 2020 (23.3 million in October 2020), representing a decrease of 0.6 percent (0.1 million poults) from November 2019.


A total of 20.0 million poults were placed on farms in the U.S. in November 2020, (20.1 million in October 2020), 0.9 percent less than in November 2019. This suggests disposal of 1.1 million poults during the month (3.2 million in October 2020). Assuming all tom poults were placed, up to 9.9 percent of November-hatched hen poults or 5.0 percent of all November-hatched poults may not have been reared. This is an unsubstantiated estimate in a fluctuating demand for processed toms and hens in a COVID-affected year and with the approach of Christmas. See relative numbers of hen and tom poults processed under Production Data below.


For the twelve-month period December 2019 through November 2020 inclusive, 275.4 million poults were hatched and 251.7 million were placed. This suggests disposal of 23.7 million poults. Assuming all tom poults were placed, (representing a broad assumption as above), 17.2 percent of hen poults or 8.6 percent of all poults hatched during the period were not placed.


To be updated in the mid-January 2021 edition following release of monthly data


Turkey Production:

The January 8th 2021 edition of the USDA Turkey Market News Report (Vol. 68: No. 01) released January 8th confirmed the following provisional data for turkeys slaughtered under Federal inspection:-


  • For the processing week ending January 2nd 2021, 0.943 million young hens were slaughtered during the processing week at a live weight of 18.1 lbs. (last short week 0.726 million at 17.1 lbs.). During the corresponding week in 2020, 1.218 million hens were processed, 29.2 percent less than the current week. Ready-to-cook (RTC) hen weight for the week attained 13.7 million lbs. (6,241 metric tons), 17.6 percent less than the corresponding processing week of 2020. Dressing percentage was a nominal 80.5. In 2020 RTC hen production attained 1,206 million lbs. (548,034 metric tons), 2.2 percent less than for YTD 2019.
  • For the processing week ending January 2nd 2021, 1.667 million toms were slaughtered at 45.1 lbs. compared to 1.462 million toms processed during the previous short week at 44.5 lbs. For the corresponding week in 2020, 1.218 million toms were processed, 26.9 percent more than in the corresponding week in 2019. Ready-to-cook tom weight for the week attained 60.5 million lbs. (27,503 metric tons), 23.9 percent less than the corresponding processing week in 2019. Dressing percentage was a nominal 80.5 percent. In 2020 RTC tom product attained 4.08 million lbs. (1,853,820 metric tons), 3.8 percent less than for YTD 2019.
  • The National average frozen hen price during the past week was 104.0 cents per lb., down 1.0 cent per lb. from the previous week and up approximately 10 cents from the three-year average. The following prices rounded to nearest cent were documented for domestic and export trading on January 8th 2021:-



cents per lb.

Change from previous Week (%)

Frozen hens



Frozen toms



Fresh hens



Fresh toms



Breasts 4.0-6.5 lb. (frozen)


No new quotation

Breasts (B/S) tom


No new quotation

Drums (toms for export)



Wings (V-cut tom)



Wings (V-cut hens)


No new quotation

Thigh Meat (frozen for export)


No new quotation

Mechanically Separated (export)


No new quotation



On January 4th 2021 cold storage holdings at selected centers amounted to 42,124 lbs., 53.8 percent more than the inventory of 27,382 lbs. on December 1st 2020.


The December 22nd edition of the USDA Cold Storage Report issued monthly, documented a total turkey stock of 194.4 million lbs. (88,382 metric tons) on November 30th 2020, equivalent to 1.5 weeks of current production and down 12.4 percent compared to the inventory on November 30th 2019. The November 30th 2020 value was 48.3 percent below the October 31st 2020 level. This decline is consistent with season and denotes an improved balance between the combination of domestic and export demand and supply.


The Whole Turkey category representing 19.1 percent of total storage of 194.4 million lbs. on November 30th 2020 was 36.7 percent lower than the inventory on November 30th 2019. Tom carcasses in storage decreased by 20.4 percent from November 30th 2019 to 25.8 million lbs. on November 30th 2020. Hen carcasses in storage decreased by 58.8 percent from November 30th 2019 to 11,304 million lbs. on November 30th 2020.


The “Other” and “Unclassified” categories collectively amounted to 88.6 million lbs. or 45.6 percent of inventory on November 30th 2020. The magnitude of these two non-specified categories suggests that the USDA should attempt to classify product more accurately as to specific product.


November 2020 Production

According to the USDA Poultry Slaughter Report released on December 22nd 2020 covering November 2020, comprising 21 working days, 18.7 million young turkeys were processed. (2.6 percent fewer than November 2019); live weight attained 569,075 million lbs. (2.4 percent less than November 2019); Average live weight was 30.4 lbs. (0.1 percent more than November 2019); RTC attained 455,019 million lbs. (down 2.4 percent from November 2019) with a yield of 80.0 percent. The proportion of frozen product in November attained 36.0 percent of total RTC produced. In November 2020 ante-mortem condemnation attained 0.26 percent of live weight, (0.23 in November 2019). In November 2020, 1.3 percent of RTC weight was condemned (1.3 percent in November 2019)



Please review comments in the Weekly Broiler Report and the year-to-date export data in this edition.


The USMCA has been in effect since July 1st. 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. In 2019 Mexico received 176,789 metric tons representing 60.9 percent of turkey exports valued at $427 million. Thailand will commence importing raw turkey effective January 1st 2021 after an avian influenza embargo was placed on the U.S. for other than cooked turkey in 2015. Over the first 11 months of 2020. China imported 12,287 metric tons of turkey products with a value of $23.2 million representing a unit value of $1,038 per metric ton.

Copyright © 2021 Simon M. Shane