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

U.S. Meat Exports


U.S. Broiler and Turkey Exports in January-September 2022


Total exports of bone-in broiler parts and feet for the first three quarters of 2022 attained 2,815,978 metric tons, 5.0 percent more than during the corresponding months in 2021 (2,681,327 metric tons). Total value of exports increased by 20.6 percent to $3,960 million ($2,916 million 2021).


Unit price is constrained by the fact that leg quarters comprise over 95 percent of broiler meat exports by volume (excluding feet). From the first quarter of 2021 to date unit value of leg quarters has increased consistent with international demand. Despite the recent welcome increase in unit price, leg quarters represent a relatively low-value commodity lacking in pricing power. Exporters of commodities are subjected to competition from domestic production in importing nations. Generic products such as leg quarters are vulnerable to trade disputes and embargos based on real or contrived disease restrictions.


During January-September 2022 the National Chicken Council (NCC), citing USDA-FAS data, documented exports of 2,840,671 metric tons of chicken parts and other forms (whole and prepared) valued at $4,027 million with a weighted average unit value of $1,418 per metric ton, 14.5 percent higher in unit value than for January-September 2021 ($1,239 per metric ton).


The NCC breakdown of chicken exports during January-September 2022 by proportion and unit price for each broiler category compared with the corresponding months in 2021 (with the unit price in parentheses) comprised:-

  • Chicken parts 9%; Unit value $1,364 per metric ton ($1,179)
  • Prepared chicken 1%; Unit value $3,840 per metric ton ($2,883)
  • Whole chicken 0%; Unit value $1,397 per metric ton ($1,389) 


The outbreak of African swine fever in China and Southeast Asia from early 2019 onwards coupled with disruptions in chicken production and logistics thereafter due to COVID restrictions, increased demand for protein with international repercussions on trade in chicken and pork. The demand for pork imports to China has diminished as hog production is restored and mild overproduction is evident in the white-feathered broiler sector with implications for exports other than feet during the second half of 2022.


The following table prepared from USDA data circulated by the USAPEEC, compares values for poultry meat exports for January-September 2022 with the corresponding months of 2021:-








Broiler Meat & Feet


Volume (metric tons)



+165,349 (+6.2%)

Value ($ millions)



+676 (+20.5%)

Unit value ($/m. ton)



+182 (+14.8%)

Turkey Meat


Volume (metric tons)



-43,230 (-23.4%)

Value ($ millions)



+5 (+1.1%)

Unit value ($/m. ton)



+ 819 (+31.9%)





Total broiler parts, predominantly leg quarters but including feet, exported during January-September 2022 as compared with 2021 increased by 5.0 percent in volume and 20.6 percent in value. Unit value was 14.8 percent higher at $1,406 per metric ton. Broiler imports in 2022 are projected to attain 85.5 thousand metric tons (188 million lbs.)


The top five importers of broiler meat represented 53.2 percent of shipments during January-September 2022. The top ten importers comprised 69.6 percent of the total volume reflecting concentration among the significant importing nations.


During September 2022 volume was 6.9 percent higher to 313,993 metric tons compared to September 2021. Value was 23.3 percent higher to $454 million attributed to a 17.3 percent increase in unit value to $1,447 per metric ton.


For the first three quarters of 2022 exports of all broiler products to first-ranked China were 46.0 percent higher by volume at 480,927 metric tons and 40.1 percent higher by value at $855 million compared to January-September 2021. Average unit price for all exports to China in January-September 2022 was $1,777 per ton compared with $1,406 per ton for all exports, or excluding China $1,329 per ton, demonstrating the weighting of feet on export value. During September 2022 2nd ranked China imported 49,345 metric tons valued at $86 million with a unit value of $1,856 per metric ton.


According to USDA statistics during the first seven months of 2022 feet accounted for 75.0 percent of volume at 238,766 metric ton, valued at $487 million with a unit price of $2,039 per metric ton. Other broiler products exported to China during January-July 2022 included legs and leg quarters at 18.3 percent of volume with a unit price of $884 per ton; wings 2.0 percent at a unit price of $1,643 per metric ton and other products including edible giblets comprising 4.5 percent of volume at $1,656 per metric ton.


During January-September 2022 Mexico was the second-ranked importer by both volume and value with 479,153 metric tons representing 17.0 percent of export volume down 11.6 percent from January-September 2021. Value at $580 million was 14.7 percent of the total for exported broiler products during the nine months and down 9.4 percent from the corresponding months in 2021, attributable to a 2.6 percent increase in unit price to $1,211 per metric ton. During September Mexico imported 56,178 metric tons valued at $62.6 million. These values were respectively 9.9 percent and 11.0 percent lower than in September 2021


Over the first nine months of 2022 nations gaining in volume compared to the corresponding period in 2021 (with the percentage change indicated) in descending order of volume were:-


China (+46%); Taiwan, (+64%); Philippines, (+13%); Canada, (+5%); Angola. (+13%); Viet Nam, (+4%); Congo-Brazzaville, (+60%) and Georgia, (+33%);


Losses over January-September 2022 offset gains in exports with declines for:-

Mexico, (-12%); Cuba, (-10%); Guatemala, (-9%); Haiti, (-2%); Colombia, (-24%); Republic of South Africa, (-23%); Kazakhstan, (-28%) and Ghana, (-33%)



The volume of turkey meat exported during the first three quarters of 2022 decreased by 23.4 percent from the corresponding months in 2021 but value rose by 1.1 percent compared to January-September 2021 with an increase in average unit value of 31.9 percent from $2,569 per metric ton to $3,388 per metric ton. Imports of turkey products are projected at 37,270 metric tons in 2022 rising to 38,640 metric tons in 2023.


For September 2022 volume declined 31.6 percent compared to September 2021 to 14,260 metric tons. Value was lower by 10.2 percent compared to September 2021 to $54.6 million due to an increase in unit value of 31.9 percent to $3,388 per metric ton.


For the entire year of 2021 export volume declined by 3.9 percent to 249,045 metric tons compared to 2020 but value increased by 14.0 percent to $665 million reflecting a 59.1 percent increase in unit value to $3,321 per metric ton. This trend is apparent in 2022.


During January-September 2022 nations gaining in volume compared to 2021 (with the percentage change indicated) were Canada, (+39%) and Guatemala, (+2%). The 2022 gains were offset by losses in exports to Mexico, (-20%); Panama, (-33%); Benin, effectively Nigeria, (-33%) and El Salvador, (-19%).



The November 17th 2022 Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook Report, forecast a 4.3 percent decrease broiler exports in 2022 to 3.278 million metric tons (7,212 million lbs.) compared to the previous year. For 2023 exports of broiler products were projected to be 3.350 million metric tons (7,370 million lbs.). This value represents 15.7 percent of the projected production of 21.284 million metric tons (46,825 million lb.) of broiler RTC by the U.S. industry.


For 2022, the USDA forecast turkey exports to fall by 23.9 percent to 189,500 metric tons (417,000 million lbs.) representing 8.0 percent of production.


Projected export of turkey products in 2023 was raised to 193,200 metric tons, (425,000 million lbs.) or 7.6 percent of annual production of 2.336 million metric tons (5,580 million lbs.).


The Administration successfully re-negotiated NAFTA into a new trilateral USMCA on September 30th 2018.This agreement was ratified by legislatures of the three nations and took effect on July 1st 2020. It is important to recognize that exports of chicken and turkey meat products to our NAFTA partners amounted to $1,264 million in 2020, $1,264 million in 2021 and $1,333 million during the first nine months of the present year. It will be important to respect the terms of the USMCA since punitive action against Mexico or Canada on other issues will result in reciprocal action by our trading partners to the possible detriment of the poultry and dairy industries.


 The emergence of H5N1strain avian influenza virus with a Eurasian genome in migratory waterfowl in all four Flyways was responsible for sporadic outbreaks of avian influenza in backyard flocks and serious commercial losses in egg-producing complexes and turkey flocks but to a lesser extent in broilers. The probability of outbreaks of HPAI over succeeding weeks appears likely but will be a function of continuous shedding by migratory and possibly some endemic birds. The extent of protection of commercial flocks at present relies on intensity and efficiency of biosecurity, representing investment in structural improvements and operational procedures. To date 2.5 million broilers on 12 farms and in excess of 7.9 million turkeys on 188 farms have been depleted as a result of HPAI.


The application of restricted county-wide embargos following the limited and regional cases of HPAI in broilers with restoration of eligibility 28 days after decontamination has facilitated export volume for the U.S. broiler industry. Exports of turkey products have been more constrained with plants processing turkeys in Minnesota, the Dakotas, Wisconsin and Iowa impacted. Most nations are now eliminating embargos placed on counties and states as the WOAH (OIE) mandated post-decontamination period expires.


The live-bird market system supplying metropolitan areas, the presence of numerous backyard flocks, fighting cocks and commercial laying hens allowed outside access, potentially in contact with migratory and now some resident bird species, all represent an ongoing danger to the entire U.S. commercial industry. The live-bird segments of U.S. poultry production represent a risk to the export eligibility of the broiler and turkey industries notwithstanding compartmentalization for breeders and regionalization to counties or states for commercial production.

Copyright © 2022 Simon M. Shane