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

Broiler Week


Weekly Broiler Production and Prices, April 2nd 2020.


Chick Placements.

The Broiler Hatchery Report released on March 31st 2021 confirmed that a total of 237.0 million eggs were set during the week ending March 27th 2021, fractionally lower than the corresponding week of the previous year and 0.1 percent (0.3 million eggs) less than the previous week.


A total of 178.4 million day-old chicks were placed among the 19 major broiler-producing states during the week ending March 27th 2021. Total chick placements for the U.S. amounted to 187.6 million, two percent less than the corresponding week in 2020 and 3.3 percent  (6.0 million chicks) less than the previous week. Claimed average hatchability was 79.9 percent for eggs set three weeks earlier, (80.9 percent for the previous week). Cumulative placements for the period January 2nd 2021 through March 27th 2021 amounted to 2.24 billion chicks, two percent lower than the corresponding period in 2020. The 5 million drop in chick placements during the week of March 13th was attributed to weather-related disruption in egg collection and hatchery operations in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi in mid-February.


Broiler Production

According to the April 1st U.S. Market News for the processing week ending March 27th 20211, 166.0 million broilers were processed during the past week (previous week 166.5 million) at an average live weight of 6.14 lbs. (6.30 lbs. last week) and a nominal yield of 76 percent. The number of broilers processed was 2.0 percent less than the corresponding processing week in 2020. Processed (RTC) broiler production for the week was 791.2 million lbs. (359,636 metric tons), (797.1 million lbs. last week), <0.1 percent more than the corresponding processing week in 2020. In 2021 Processed (RTC) production attained 100.7 million lbs. (4,577,286 metric tons), 3.4 percent less than YTD 2020.


1. USDA Broiler Market News Report #13 Delayed.


Broiler Prices

The USDA National Composite Weighted Wholesale price on April 2nd 2021 was up 5.4 cent per lb. from the previous week to 92.4 cents per lb., compared to 66.7 cents per lb. during the corresponding week of 2020; 86.7 cents per lb. for March 2021 and 83.0 cents per lb. for the three-year average. The industry still is impacted by the contraction 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 March 31st 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
  2.  Too few to report


The USDA posted live-weight data for the past week ending March 20th 20211 and YTD 2021 were:-



Live Weight Range (lbs.)










Proportion past week  (%)










Change from 2020 YTD (%)










1. Data for current week delayed



During the week ending March 20th broilers for QSR and food service (live, 3.6 lb. to 4.3 lb.) represented 22 percent (previous week 21 percent) of processed volume.


On March 29th 2020 cold storage holdings of processed poultry at selected centers amounted to 65,527 lbs., 1.8 percent more than the inventory of 64,379 lbs. on March 1st 2021.


According to the most recent March 22nd 2021 USDA Cold Storage Report, issued monthly, stocks as of February 28th 2021 compared to February 29th 2020 showed differences with respect to the following categories:-

  • Total Chicken category fell by 16.8 percent to 769.2 million lbs. (349,654 metric tons) on February 28th 2021 compared to 924.4 million lbs. (420,197 metric tons) on February 29th 2020
  • Leg Quarters were down by 44.1 percent to 52.3 million lbs. consistent with the data on exports. Inventory was down 12.2 percent from January 31st 2021. To evaluate year-over-year comparisons, anticipated purchases by China were initially delayed by COVID-19 port disruptions during the first quarter of 2020. The USDA combined the categories of feet and in-bone products into a comprehensive figure from the second quarter onwards. Given the decline in inventory of leg quarters it is evident that this category is being shipped in progressively greater quantities to a number of importing nations including China. The NCC data classified U.S. exports to China over the first 11 months of 2020 as feet, 41 percent; bone-in, 53 percent and the remainder as wings and offal.
  • The Breasts and Breast Meat category was down 0.1 percent to 222.7 million lbs. indicating stable domestic demand from retail and a slow recovery of the food service sector
  • Wings showed a 22.3 percent decrease from February 29th 2020, contributing to a stock of 39.6 million lbs. The level of inventory in this category should decline with resumption of college and professional sports events.  This category was 17.9 percent higher than on January 29th 2020. Inventory should decline in the April report reflecting March Madness consumption.
  • Paws and Feet decreased on February 28th 2021 by 9.1 percent to 33.7 million lbs. from February 29th 2020 but inventory increased 1.7 percent from January 31st 2021*. March and April 2020 export data suggest displacement of sales from Hong Kong to China by comparing previous data for Hong Kong. Prior to April 2020 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 331.5 million lbs. was down 19.8 percent from February 29th 2020 and represented a significant 40.5 percent of inventory on February 28th 2021. 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 2020 under the STATISTICS tab)


February 2021 Production

The USDA Poultry Slaughter Report released on March 24th 2021 covering February 2021 comprising 20 working days, recorded a total of 676.8 million head processed (down 5.6 percent from February 2020); Total live weight of 4.32 billion lbs. (down 4.8 percent from February 2020); Unit weight of 6.39 lbs. (up 0.9 percent from February 2020). RTC attained 3.27 billion lbs. (down 4.3 percent from February 2020) with a WOG yield of 75.7 percent. The proportion marketed in February 2021 as chilled comprised 93.1 percent. Ante-mortem condemnation as a proportion of live weight attained 0.22 percent in February 2021 (0.21 percent in February 2020). Post-mortem condemnations as a proportion of processed mass corresponded to 0.52 percent in February 2021. (0.63 percent in February 2020).



Mexico has recognized the OIE principle of regionalization after intensive negotiations between SENASICA and U.S. counterpart the 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 their action regarding E.U. nations in response to 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 the total $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. Fifth-ranked Canada imported 149,851 metric tons of broilers and parts during 2020 valued at $289.2 million. Collectively our NAFTA/USMCA neighbors imported broiler products to the value of $869 million during 2018, $901 million in 2019 and $864 million in 2020.


During 2020 exports of broiler products to China including feet attained 512,587 metric tons valued at $732 million with a unit price of $1,428 per metric ton. Shipments to China were offset by losses to Hong Kong with at least half of U.S. imports transshipped to the mainland prior to April 2020.


Subscribers are referred to the Monthly export review and the 2021 USDA projection under the STATISTICS tab.

Copyright © 2021 Simon M. Shane