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

Broiler Week


Weekly Broiler Production and Prices, September 10th 2021.

Chick Placements.

The Broiler Hatchery Report released on September 8th 2021 confirmed that a total of 235.5 million eggs were set during the week ending September 4th 2021, up two percent from the corresponding week of the previous year and 0.2 percent (0.5 million eggs) lower than the previous week in 2021.


A total of 175.5 million day-old chicks were placed among the 19 major broiler-producing states during the week ending September 4th 2021. Total chick placements for the U.S. amounted to 185.2 million, down one percent from the corresponding week in 2020 and 18,000 chicks less than the previous week. Claimed average hatchability was 79.5 percent for eggs set three weeks earlier, (79.5 percent for the previous week). Each 1.0 percent change in hatchability represents 2.4 million chicks placed per week with current settings.


Cumulative placements for the period January 9th 2021 through September 4th 2021 amounted to 6.54 billion chicks, up less than one percent from the corresponding period in 2020.

During the period July 31st through September 4th 2021 weekly placements were on average 0.2 percent lower compared with the corresponding six weeks in 2020. This represents on average, placement of 0.3 million fewer chicks per week. This is due to setting a proportion of hatching eggs with depressed fertility from high-yield breed combinations maintained by some integrators. Additional breeder flocks have been placed to compensate for reduced fertility and hence hatch but their contribution has yet to be completely attained based on age. The approximately four percent increase in eggs set during the past six weeks should be reflected in higher placements during mid-September and broilers harvested during the first half of October onwards.


Broiler Production

According to the September 10th USDA Broiler Market News (Vol. 68, No. 36) for the processing week ending September 4th 2021, 161.3 million broilers were processed during the past week (previous week 167.8 million) at an average live weight of 6.35 lbs. (6.27 lbs. last week) and a nominal yield of 76 percent. The number of broilers processed was 7.2 percent less than the corresponding processing week in 2020. Processed (RTC) broiler production for the week was 778.6 million lbs. (353,928 metric tons), (799.5 million lbs. last week), 7.6 percent less than the corresponding processing week in 2020. In 2021 Processed (RTC) production attained 28.2 million lbs. (12,804,398 metric tons), 0.4 percent less than YTD 2020.


Broiler Prices

The USDA National Composite Weighted Wholesale price on September 10th 2021 was up 0.5 cent per lb. from the previous week to 105.8 cents per lb., compared to 64.0 cents per lb. during the corresponding week of 2020; 104.8 cents per lb. for August 2021 and 75.0 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, although QSRs are using increasing quantities of breast meat for sandwiches, strips and nuggets.

The USDA Southern States (SS) benchmark prices in cents per lb. (rounded to nearest cent) as documented in the Broiler Market News Reports September 10th 2021 are tabulated with a comparison with the previous week:-



USDA SS1. Previous week


USDA SS1. Past 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 September 4th 2021 and YTD 2021 were:-

Live Weight Range (lbs.)





Proportion past week (%)





Change from 2020 YTD (%)






During the week ending September 4th broilers for QSR and food service (live, 3.6 lb. to 4.3 lb.) represented 19 percent (previous week 20 percent) of processed volume.


On September 6th 2020 cold storage holdings of processed poultry other than chicken at selected centers amounted to 72,538 lbs., 1.4 percent less than the inventory of 73,553 lbs. on September 1st 2021.


According to the most recent August 23rd 2021 USDA Cold Storage Report, issued monthly, stocks as of July 31st 2021 compared to July 31st 2020 showed differences with respect to the following categories:-


  • Total Chicken category attained 734.1 million lbs. (333,675 metric tons) corresponding to an average of two weeks production based on average YTD 2021 weekly RTC output. The July 31st 2021 inventory was down 16.3 percent compared to 876.8 million lbs. (398,570 metric tons) on July 31st 2020
  • Leg Quarters were down by 4.5 percent to 76.2 million lbs. consistent with the data on exports. Inventory was up 11.5 percent from June 30th 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 of 2020 onwards. Given the trend in inventory of leg quarters it is evident that this category continues to be shipped in varying quantities to a number of importing nations including China.
  • The Breasts and Breast Meat category was down 10.7 percent from July 31st 2020 to 181.6 million lbs. indicating stable domestic demand from retail and a slow recovery of the food service sector
  • Wings showed a 2.8 percent decrease from July 31st 2020, contributing to a stock of 48.9 million lbs. The level of inventory in this category increased during July after seasonal breaks in college and professional sports events. This category was 9.6 percent higher on July 31st than on June 30th
  • Paws and Feet declined on on July 31st 2021 by a noteworthy 38.6 percent to 32.7 million lbs. from July 31st 2020 and inventory decreased 0.7 percent from June 30th 2021*. March and April 2020 export data suggested displacement of sales from Hong Kong to China by comparing previous data for Hong Kong. Prior to April 2020 it is presumed that approximately half of the shipments of paws and feet destined for Hong Kong were landed and transshipped to the Mainland. Data released by the USAPEEC confirmed that for the first five months of 2021 105,000 metric tons of paws were shipped to China. This represented 57.5 percent of volume and 80.4 percent of value of shipments to China at a unit price of $2,457 per metric ton.
  • It is noted that the Other category comprising 302.9 million lbs. was down 21.0 percent from July 31st 2020 but represented a significant 41.3 percent of inventory on July 31st 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 January-June 2021 under the STATISTICS Tab)


July 2021 Production

The USDA Poultry Slaughter Report released on August 24th 2021 covering July 2021 comprising 23 working days, recorded a total of 768.3 million head processed (down 2.3 percent from July 2020); Total live weight of 4.96 billion lbs. was down 0.2 percent from July 2020; Unit live weight of 6.46 lbs. was up 2.1 percent from July 2020. RTC attained 3.49 billion lbs., up 0.2 percent from July 2020 with a WOG yield of 75.4 percent. The proportion marketed in July 2021 as chilled comprised 93.1 percent of output. Ante-mortem condemnation as a proportion of live weight attained 0.21 percent in July 2021 (0.22 percent in July 2020). Post-mortem condemnations as a proportion of processed mass corresponded to 0.49 percent in July 2021. (0.52 percent in July 2020). 


To be updated in September reflecting August data.



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 of avian influenza and Newcastle disease should not materially affect exports. The response of China is less predictable given their action regarding E.U. nations in response to African swine fever and avian influenza but their response to outbreaks will be influenced more by self-interest than scientific or international trade considerations.


During 2020 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.


For the first seven months of 2021 exports of broiler parts and feet combined attained a volume of 2,150,960 metric tons (2,021,969 metric tons in January-July 2020) with a value of $2,523 million ($2.044 January-July 2020). Unit value increased 16.0 percent from January-July 2020 to $1,173 per metric ton from $1,011 for the seven-month period in 2020.


Subscribers are referred to the Monthly Export Review and the 2021 USDA Projection under the STATISTICS Tab.

Copyright © 2021 Simon M. Shane