Poultry Industry News, Comments & More

Turkey Week


Weekly Turkey Production and Prices

Poult Production and Placement:

The September 16th edition of the USDA Turkey Hatchery Report, issued monthly, documented 26.0 million eggs in incubators on September 1st 2019 (29.1 million eggs on August 1st 2019) and up 5.5 percent (1.52 million eggs) from September 1st 2018.

A total of 24.25 million poults were hatched during August 2019 (25.23 million in July 2019) representing a decrease of 1.6 percent from August 2018.

A total of 22.73 million poults were placed on farms in the U.S. in August 2019, (24.34 million in July 2019), amounting to 6.5 percent less than in 2018. This suggests disposal of 1.50 million poults during the month. Assuming all tom poults were placed, 12.4 percent of July-hatched hen poults or 36.2 percent of all August-hatched poults in August 2019 were not placed.

For the twelve-month period September 2018 through August 2019 inclusive, 288.58 million poults were hatched and 259.30 million were placed. This suggests disposal of 14.6 million poults. Assuming all tom poults were placed 10.1 percent of hen poults or 5.0 percent of all poults hatched during the period were not placed.

Turkey Production:

The October 4th 2019 edition of the USDA Turkey Market News Report (Vol. 66: No. 40) confirmed the following provisional data for turkeys slaughtered under Federal inspection:-

  • For the processing week ending September 28th 2019, 1.704 million young hens were slaughtered at a live weight of 16.4 lbs. (last week 17.2 lbs.). During the corresponding processing week in 2018, 2.101 million hens were processed. Ready-to-cook (RTC) hen weight for the week attained 22.5 million lbs. (10,244 metric tons), 22.0 percent less than the corresponding processing week of 2018. Dressing percentage was a nominal 80.5. For 2019 to date RTC hen production attained 895.5 million lbs. (407,031 metric tons), 1.3 percent more than during the corresponding period in 2018


  • For the processing week ending September 28th 2019, 2,634 million toms were slaughtered at 41.6 lbs. compared to 2.667 million toms processed during the previous week at 41.7 lbs. For the corresponding week in 2018, 2.366 million toms were processed. Ready-to-cook tom weight for the week attained 88.1 million lbs. (40,065 metric tons), 10.4 percent more than the corresponding processing week in 2018. Dressing percentage was a nominal 80.5 percent. For 2019 YTD, RTC tom product attained 3.20 million lbs. (1,452,421 metric tons), 2.3 percent more than for the corresponding weeks of 2018

  • The National average frozen hen price during the past week was 89.5 cents per lb., down 8.8 cents per lb. from the previous week and 14 cents per lb. lower than the three-year average. The following prices rounded to nearest cent were documented for domestic and export trading on October 4th 2019:-



cents per lb.

Change from previous Week (%)

Frozen hens



Frozen toms



Fresh hens



Fresh toms



Breasts 4.0-6.5 lb.


No new quotation

Breasts (B/S) tom



Drums (toms for export)


No new quotation

Wings (V-cut tom)



Wings (V-cut hens)


No new quotation

Thigh Meat (frozen for export)


No new quotation

Mechanically Separated (export)




On September 23th 2019 cold storage holdings at selected centers amounted to 100,084 lbs., 17.8 percent less than the inventory of 121,816 lbs. on September 1st 2019.

The September 23rd 2019 edition of the USDA Cold Storage Report issued monthly, documented a total turkey stock of 562.5 million lbs. (255,683 metric tons) on August 31st 2019, approximately equivalent to five weeks production and down 7.2 percent compared to August 31st 2018 inventory. The August 31 st 2019 value was 1.0 percent above the July 31st 2019 level due to decreased sales relative to production.

The Whole Turkey category representing 57.3percent of total storage of 562.5 million lbs. on August 31st 2019, compared to 57.3 percent of inventory on August 31st 2018. Tom carcasses in storage decreased by 14.6 percent from August 31st 2018 to 164.4 million lbs. on August 31st 2019. Hen carcasses in storage increased by 1.7 percent from August 31st 2018 to 157.9 million lbs. on August 31st 2019.

The "Other" and "Unclassified" categories collectively amounted to 127.9 million lbs. or 22.7 percent of inventory on August 31st 2019. 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 in this edition and the year-to-date export data under the STATISTICS tab.

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.

The Newcastle disease outbreak in Southern California appears close to an end but with three new cases on August 14th, August 31 st and September 9th. There were no incident cases diagnosed during the previous eight weeks. APHIS recorded 451 cases of velogenic viscerotropic Newcastle disease (vvND) in backyard flocks (predominantly "fighting cocks") in the Counties of San Bernardino (142), Riverside (261), Los Angeles (45), Alameda (1), San Diego (1) and Ventura (1) from late-May 2018 to October 4th 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 was no extension from this location.

The successive monthly incidence rate of ND declined in November 2008 but a surge in cases in Riverside County occurred in mid-December 2008. Presumed extension from cases of vvND was confirmed in a flock of 103,000 replacement pullets aged six weeks near Perris, CA. on December 14 th resulting in rapid depletion and disposal. This outbreak was followed by infection of 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 2009 and Coconino County, AZ (near Flagstaff) in early April 2009, presumably due to illegal movement of birds from Southern California. It is understood that the USDA made 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 30


. The Agreement must however be ratified by the legislatures of Canada and the U.S. 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