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

Broiler Week


Weekly Broiler Production and Prices, January 8th 2020.


Chick Placements.

The Broiler Hatchery Report released on January 6th 2021 confirmed that a total of 236.3 million eggs were set during the week ending January 2nd 2021, almost the same as the corresponding week of the previous year and 0.4 percent (1.0 million eggs) more than the previous week.


A total of 178.6 million day-old chicks were placed among the 19 major broiler-producing states during the week ending January 2nd 2021. Total chick placements for the U.S. amounted to 188.2 million, one percent less than in the corresponding week in 2020 and 2.8 percent (5.1 million chicks) more than the previous week. Claimed average hatchability was 81.5 percent for eggs set three weeks earlier, (81.7 percent for the previous week). Cumulative placements for the period January 4th 2020 through January 2nd 2021 amounted to 9.79 billion chicks, one percent lower than the corresponding period in 2020.


Broiler Production

According to the January 8th 2021 USDA Broiler Market News Report (Vol. 68: No. 01 released January 8th 2021) for the processing week ending January 2nd 2021, 137.8 million broilers were processed during the past week (previous short week 123.0 million) at an average live weight of 6.40 lbs. (6.19 lbs. last week) and a nominal yield of 76 percent. The number of broilers processed was 5.9 percent less than the corresponding processing week in 2020. Processed (RTC) broiler production for the week was 670.5 million lbs. (304,754 metric tons), (578.6 million lbs. last week), 5.3 percent less than the corresponding processing week in 2019. In 2020 Processed (RTC) production attained 40,811 million lbs. (18,550,251 metric tons), 0.5 percent more than YTD 2019.


Broiler Prices

The USDA National Composite Weighted Wholesale price on January 8th 2021 was up 1.3 cent per lb. from the previous week to 81.8 cents per lb., compared to 91.5 cents per lb. during the corresponding week of 2020; 82.5 cents per lb. for December 2020 and 90.0 cents per lb. for the three-year average. The industry still is impacted by the retraction in the food service segment following imposition of COVID-19 restrictions.


The USDA Southern States (SS) benchmark prices in cents per lb. (rounded to nearest cent) as documented in the Broiler Market News Reports January 8th 2021 are tabulated with a comparison with the previous week:-



USDA SS1. Past week


USDA SS1. Previous week




Whole Index








B/S Breast




Whole Breasts




B/S Thighs




Whole Thighs








Leg Quarters




Wings (cut)




  1. USDA Southern States prices


The USDA posted live-weight data for the past week ending January 2nd 2021 and YTD 2020 were:-

Live Weight Range (lbs.)





Proportion past week (%)





Change from 2020 YTD (%)1





  1. Small base for comparison

During the past week broilers for QSR and food service (live, 3.6 lb. to 4.3 lb.) represented 18 percent (last week 24 percent) of processed volume.

On January 4th 2020 cold storage holdings at selected centers amounted to 75,070 lbs., 9.5 percent less than the inventory of 83,023 lbs. on December 1st 2020.

According to the most recent December 22nd 2020 USDA Cold Storage Report, issued monthly, stocks as of November 30th 2020 compared to November 30th 2019 showed differences with respect to the following categories:-

  • Total Chicken category fell by 9.9 percent to 882.4 million lbs. (401,016 metric tons) on November 30th 2020 compared to 979.3 million lbs. (445,148 metric tons) on November 30th 2019
  • Leg Quarters were down by 36.0 percent to 62.8 million lbs. consistent with the data on exports. Inventory was down 17.0 percent from October 31st Anticipated purchases by China were delayed by COVID-19 port disruptions during the first quarter of 2020. There is no published data separating leg quarters or other cuts from feet with respect to China given that the USDA combined all categories into a global figure from the second quarter onwards. Given the decline in inventory of leg quarters it is evident that this category is being shipped in greater quantities to a number of importing nations including possibly China. Unit revenue as documented in the Monthly Export Report under the STATISTICS Tab suggests that shipments to China comprise mainly feet.
  • The Breasts and Breast Meat category was up 23.2 percent to 254.9 million lbs. indicating decreased domestic demand from retail and a slow recovery of the food service sector
  • Wings showed a 28.8 percent decrease from November 30th 2019, contributing to a stock of 45.7 million lbs. The level of inventory in this category will decline when college and professional sports events are restored. This category was 2.3 percent lower than on October 31st
  • Paws and Feet decreased on November 30th 2020 by 3.2 percent to 28.3 million lbs. from November 30th Inventory decreased 6.6 percent from October 31st 2020 to November 30th 2020 denoting exports of this category to China*. It will take until the end of the fourth quarter to determine the effect of the Phase-One trade agreement with China coupled with the end of the COVID-19 lockdown on the total export of feet. March and April export data suggest displacement of sales from Hong Kong to China by comparing previous data for Hong Kong. Prior to April approximately half of the shipments of paws and feet destined for Hong Kong were obviously landed and transshipped to the Mainland.
  • It is noted that the Other category comprising 364.8 million lbs. was down 17.3 percent from November 30th 2019 and represented a significant 41.3 percent of inventory on November 30th The high proportion in the Other category suggests further classification or re-allocation by USDA to the designated major categories.

*(See Poultry Meat Export Report covering this edition)

November 2020 Production

The USDA Poultry Slaughter Report released on December 22nd covering November 2020 comprising 21 working days recorded a total of 718.0 million head processed (up 0.8 percent from November 2019); Live weight of 4.59 billion lbs. (up 1.1 percent from November 2019); Unit weight of 6.40 lbs. (up 0.3 percent from November 2019). RTC attained 3.23 billion lbs. (up 1.2 percent from November 2019) with a yield of 75.5 percent. The proportion marketed in November 2020 as chilled comprised 93.2 percent. Ante-mortem condemnation as a proportion of live weight attained 0.20 percent in November 2020 (0.23 percent November 2019). Post-mortem condemnations as a proportion of processed mass corresponded to 0.50 percent. (0.59 percent in November 2019)


Mexico has recognized the OIE principle of regionalization after intensive negotiations between SENASICA and U.S. counterparts in USDA-APHIS assisted by USAPEEC. Provided importing nations adhere to OIE guidelines on regionalization, localized outbreaks should not materially affect exports. The response of China is less predictable give the response to EU nations over African swine fever and avian influenza.

During 2019 broiler exports to Mexico attained 683,018 metric tons. This represented 21.1 percent of export volume and 18.7 percent of export value (amounting to $605 million) of $3.23 billion. In the absence of the USMCA signed a year ago, tariffs on chicken could have risen to 75 percent of value creating a non-competitive situation favoring Brazil and Argentina. Sixth-ranked Canada imported 130,132 metric tons of broilers and parts during 2019 valued at $296.1 million. Collectively our NAFTA/USMCA neighbors imported broiler products to the value of $869 million during 2018 and $901 million in 2019.

Subscribers are referred to the Monthly export review under the STATISTICS tab and USDA projection under the STATISTICS tab.

Copyright © 2021 Simon M. Shane