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

Weekly Turkey Production and Prices


Poult Production and Placement:

The September 17th edition of the USDA Turkey Hatchery Report, issued monthly, documented 27.1 million eggs in incubators on September 1st 2018 (28.7 million eggs on August 1st 2018) down 6.8 percent (1.9 million eggs) from September 1st 2017. A total of 24.0 million poults were hatched during August 2018 (25.7 million in July 2018) and down 3.3 percent from August 2017.

A total of 23.3 million poults were placed on farms in the U.S. in August 2018, (25.7 million in July 2018) and down 4.2 percent (1.0 million poults) from August 2017. This suggests disposal of 0.75 million hen poults or 6.2 percent of hen poults hatched during August 2018 or 3.1 percent of the total hatch.

For the twelve-month period September 2017 through August 2018, 284.8 million poults were hatched and 246.8 million were placed. This suggests disposal of 17.6 million hen poults over the period representing 12.4 percent of hen poults hatched or 6.2 percent of all poults hatched.

USDA will release the next monthly report on October 16th.

Turkey Production:

The October 5th edition of the USDA Turkey Market News Report (Vol. 65: No. 40) confirmed the following provisional data for turkeys slaughtered under Federal inspection:-

  • For the processing week ending September 29th 2018, 2.101 million young hens were slaughtered at a live weight of 17.1 lbs. (17.7 lbs. last week). During the corresponding processing week in 2017, 1.678 million hens were processed. Ready-to-cook (RTC) hen weight for the week attained 28.9 million lbs. (13,130 m. tons), 26.3 percent more than the corresponding processing week of 2017. Dressing percentage was a nominal 80.5. For YTD 2018, RTC hen production attained 884.1 million lbs., (401,875 metric tons), 1.5 percent less than during the corresponding period in 2017.

  • For the processing week ending September 29th 2018, 2.366 million toms were slaughtered at 40.7 lbs. (41.1 lbs. last week) compared to 2.177 million toms processed during the previous week. For the corresponding week in 2017, 2.615 million toms were processed. Ready-to-cook tom weight for the week attained 79.8 million lbs. (36,292 m. tons), 6.7 percent less than in the corresponding processing week in 2017. Dressing percentage was a nominal 80.5. For YTD 2018 RTC tom product has attained 3.12 million lbs. (1,420,221 metric tons), 1.1 percent less than during the corresponding period in 2017

  • The National average frozen hen price during the past week was 82 cents per lb., 2 cents per lb. lower than the previous week and 38 cents per lb. below the three-year average. The following prices rounded to nearest cent were documented for domestic and export trading on October 5th 2018 :-




cents per lb.

Change from previous Week (%)

Frozen hens



Frozen toms



Fresh hens



Fresh toms



Breasts 4.0-6.5 lb.



Breasts (B/S) tom



Drums (toms for export)


No new quotation

Wings (V-cut tom)



Wings (V-cut hens)



Thigh Meat (frozen for export)


No new quotation

Mechanically Separated (export)


No new quotation


On October 1st cold storage holdings at selected centers amounted to 191,754 lbs. down 6.6 percent from an inventory of 205,362 lbs. on September 1st 2018.

The September 24th 2018 edition of the USDA Cold Storage Report issued monthly, documented a total turkey stock of 608.6 million lbs. (276,633 metric tons) on August 31st 2018, approximately equivalent to five weeks production and up 1.4 percent compared to August 31st 2017 inventory. The August 31 st 2018 value was 3.1 percent above July 31st 2018 level due to the disparity between supply and demand during the month. The Whole Turkey category representing 57.3 percent of total storage of 608.6 million lbs., was the same as August 31st 2017. Tom carcasses in storage increased by 10.2 percent from August 31st 2017 to 193.5 million lbs. on August 31st 2018. (181.3 million lbs. July 31 st 2018) Hen carcasses in storage decreased by 10.3 percent from August 31st 2017 to 155.2 million lbs. on August 31st 2018 (147.9 million lbs. on July 31st 2018)

The "Other" and "Unclassified" categories collectively amounted to 144.8 million lbs. or 23.8 percent of inventory on August 31st 2018, 9.1 percent above August 31st 2017. The magnitude of these two non-specified categories suggests that the USDA should attempt to classify product more accurately as to specific product.



Please review comments on prospects for exports as outlined in the weekly Broiler Report and the year-to-date export data in this edition. Exports should not be impacted by previous isolated sporadic cases of LPAI in Missouri and Texas since the 90-day period expired in June. Four recent LPAI H7 cases involving turkey and mixed species flocks with outside access located in Stanislaus County and over 150 cases of END in backyard flocks predominantly in San Bernardino but also in Ventura, Riverside and Los Angeles Counties in California from late-May to the present and an isolation from a live-bird market in Los Angeles should not impede exports appreciably. This is based on the acceptance of the OIE principle of regionalization by Mexico and other major importing nations.

A preliminary trade agreement in principle was concluded with Mexico during the last week of August according to Trade Negotiator Robert Lighthizer. The Administration negotiated a last-minute modification to NAFTA to create the trilateral USMCA on the last day of September The U.S. turkey industry shipped 103,457 metric tons or 65.8 percent of all turkey exports to Mexico, valued at $228 million during the first eight months of 2018.

Copyright 2018 Simon M. Shane