Poultry Industry News, Comments & More

Weekly Turkey Production and Prices


Poult Production and Placement:

The April 16th edition of the USDA Turkey Hatchery Report, issued monthly, documented 28.8 million eggs in incubators on April 1st 2018 (27.8 million eggs on March 1st 2019) up 2.1 percent (0.6 million eggs) from April 1st 2018.

A total of 24.0 million poults were hatched during March 2019 (22.8 million in February 2019) and down 8.9 percent from March 2018.

A total of 21.7 million poults were placed on farms in the U.S. in March 2019, (20.8 million in February 2019), 4.9 percent less than in March 2018. This suggests disposal of 2.3 million poults during the month. Assuming all tom poults were placed, 19.2 percent of hen poults or 8.6 percent of all March 2019-hatched poults were not placed.

For the twelve-month period April 2018 through March 2019 inclusive, 284.3 million poults were hatched and 262.1 million were placed. This suggests disposal of 21.9 million poults. Assuming all tom poults were placed 15.4 percent of hen poults or 7.7 percent of all poults hatched during the period were not placed.

Turkey Production:

The May 10th 2019 edition of the USDA Turkey Market News Report (Vol. 66: No. 19) confirmed the following provisional data for turkeys slaughtered under Federal inspection:-

  • For the processing week ending May 4th 2019, 1.766 million young hens were slaughtered at a live weight of 16.6 lbs. (last week 15.6 lbs.). During the corresponding processing week in 2018, 1.838 million hens were processed. Ready-to-cook (RTC) hen weight for the week attained 24.6 million lbs. (11,119 metric tons), 0.2 percent more than the corresponding processing week of 2018. Dressing percentage was a nominal 80.5. For 2019 to date RTC hen production attained 480.4 million lbs. (182,003 metric tons), 4.9 percent more than during the corresponding period in 2018
  • For the processing week ending May 3rd 2018, 2.408 million toms were slaughtered at 44.2 lbs. compared to 2.377 million toms processed during the previous week at 44.1 lbs.  For the corresponding week in 2018, 2.449 million toms were processed. Ready-to-cook tom weight for the week attained 85.7 million lbs. (38,971 metric tons), 4.7 percent more than the corresponding processing week in 2018.  Dressing percentage was a nominal 80.5 percent. For 2019 YTD, RTC tom product attained 1.490 million lbs. (677,267 metric tons), 0.5 percent more than in the corresponding weeks of 2018


  • The National average frozen hen price during the past week was 83.0 cents per lb., 0.5 cents per lb. lower than the previous week and 18 cents per lb. lower than the three-year average. The following prices rounded to nearest cent were documented for domestic and export trading on May 11th 2019:-


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


                      No new quotation

Drums (toms for export)


                   No new quotation

Wings (V-cut tom)



Wings (V-cut hens)


                   No new quotation

Thigh Meat (frozen for export)



Mechanically Separated (export)





On May 6th 2019 cold storage holdings at selected centers amounted to 96,471 lbs. down 0.1 percent from an inventory of 96,610 lbs. on May 1st 2019.

The April 22nd 2019 edition of the USDA Cold Storage Report now issued monthly, documented a total turkey stock of 466.9 million lbs. (212,231 metric tons) on March 31st 2019, approximately equivalent to five weeks production and up 0.9 percent compared to March 31st 2018 inventory. The March 31st 2019 value was 3.5 percent above the February 28th 2019 level due to decreased seasonal sales relative to production.

The Whole Turkey category representing 47.7 percent of total storage of 466.9 million lbs. on March 31st 2019, compared to 47.2 percent of inventory on March 31st 2018. Tom carcasses in storage decreased by 0.1 percent from March 31st 2018 to 106.7 million lbs. on March 31st 2019. Hen carcasses in storage increased by 3.4 percent from March 31st 2018 to 112.9 million lbs. on February 28th 2019.

The “Other” and “Unclassified” categories collectively amounted to 117.5 million lbs. or 25.1 percent of inventory on March 31st 2019, 6.8 percent below March 31st 2018. 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 under the STATISTICS tab. infection. In early February 2019 a sporadic case of H5 LPAI was diagnosed in a turkey flock (age and type not specified) in Chippawa County, MN. This flock was depleted without lateral transmission and restrictions on Minnesota have expired.

APHIS has recorded 432 cases of velogenic viscerotropic Newcastle disease (vvND) in backyard flocks (predominantly “fighting cocks”) in the Counties of San Bernardino (139), Riverside (250), Los Angeles (42), Alameda (1) and Ventura (1) from late-May 2018 to May 10th 2019. A single case of ND was diagnosed in a backyard flock (type and size not specified by CDFA near Redwood City in Alameda County during the week of March 11th 2019.There has been no extension from this location.

The successive monthly incidence rate of ND declined in November but a surge in cases in Riverside County occurred in mid-December. Presumed extension from cases of vvND was confirmed in a flock of 103,000 replacement pullets aged six weeks near Perris, CA. on December 14th resulting in rapid depletion and disposal. This outbreak was followed by three spatially and temporally related egg production farms with a combined population of approximately 250,00 hens. The infection was diagnosed in a flock of fighting cocks in Utah County UT on January 18th and Coconino County, AZ (near Flagstaff) in early April, presumably due to illegal movement of birds from Southern California. It is understood that the USDA is making available $45 million for eradication. These events should not impede exports based on the acceptance of the OIE principle of regionalization by Mexico and other major importing nations.

The Administration concluded a last-minute modification to NAFTA to create the trilateral USMCA on the last day of September 2018 and the draft document was signed on November 30th. The Agreement must however be ratified by the legislatures of all three signatories. The U.S. turkey industry shipped 173,544 metric tons or 62.6 percent of all turkey exports to Mexico, valued at $389 million during 2018.

Copyright 2019 Simon M. Shane