Poultry Industry News, Comments & More

Turkey Week


Weekly Turkey Production and Prices

Poult Production and Placement:

The July 15th edition of the USDA Turkey Hatchery Report, issued monthly, documented 26.8 million eggs in incubators on July 1st 2020 (28.0 million eggs on June 1st 2020) and down 4.0 percent (1.3 million eggs) from July 1st 2019.


A total of 23.9 million poults were hatched during June 2020 (19.6 million in May 2020), representing a decrease of 3.7 percent from June 2019.


A total of 22.7 million poults were placed on farms in the U.S. in June 2020, (19.3 million in May 2020), 3.7 percent less than in June 2019. This suggests disposal of 1.1 million poults during the month. Assuming all tom poults were placed (an unsubstantiated estimate in a fluctuating demand for products), 9.2 percent of June-hatched hen poults or 4.6 percent of all June-hatched poults were not placed.


For the twelve-month period July 2019 through June 2020 inclusive, 280.8 million poults were hatched and 257.6 million were placed. This suggests disposal of 23.2 million poults. Assuming all tom poults were placed, (representing a broad assumption), 16.5 percent of hen poults or 8.2 percent of all poults hatched during the period were not placed.


Turkey Production:

The July 24th 2020 edition of the USDA Turkey Market News Report (Vol. 67: No. 30) confirmed the following provisional data for turkeys slaughtered under Federal inspection:-


  • For the processing week ending July 18th 2020, 1.567 million young hens were slaughtered during a short week at a live weight of 17.3 lbs. (last week 1.805 million at 16.5 lbs.). During the corresponding week in 2019, 1.791 million hens were processed, 14.2 percent more than the current week. Ready-to-cook (RTC) hen weight for the week attained 21.9 million lbs. (9,937 metric tons), 11.4 percent less than the corresponding processing week of 2019. Dressing percentage was a nominal 80.5. For YTD 2020 RTC hen production attained 638.9 million lbs. (290,385 metric tons), 2.9 percent less than during YTD 2019.
  • For the processing week ending July 18th 2020, 2.409 million toms were slaughtered at 43.7 lbs. compared to 2.528 million toms processed during the previous week at 42.7 lbs. For the corresponding processing week in 2019, 2.358 million toms were processed. Ready-to-cook tom weight for the week attained 84.8 million lbs. (38,529 metric tons), 5.3 percent less than the corresponding processing week in 2019. Dressing percentage was a nominal 80.5 percent. For 2020 YTD, RTC tom product attained 2.33 million lbs. (1,059,356 metric tons), 1.6 percent less than for the YTD 2019.
  • The National average frozen hen price during the past week was 108.2 cents per lb., down 0.8 cents per lb. from the previous week and up 17 cents from the three-year average. The following prices rounded to nearest cent were documented for domestic and export trading on July 24th 2020:-



cents per lb.

Change from previous Week (%)

Frozen hens



Frozen toms



Fresh hens



Fresh toms



Breasts 4.0-6.5 lb. (frozen)



Breasts (B/S) tom


No new quotation

Drums (toms for export)



Wings (V-cut tom)



Wings (V-cut hens)


No new quotation

Thigh Meat (frozen for export)


No new quotation

Mechanically Separated (export)


No new quotation


On July 20th 2019 cold storage holdings at selected centers amounted to 95,235 lbs., 3.9 percent more than the inventory of 91,617 lbs. on July 1st 2020.


The July 22nd edition of the USDA Cold Storage Report issued monthly, documented a total turkey stock of 473.7 million lbs. (215,305 metric tons) on June 30th 2020, equivalent to 3.5 weeks production and down 12.1 percent compared to the inventory on June 30th 2019. The June 30th 2020 value was 12.7 percent above the May 31st 2020 level. This rise denotes an imbalance between the supply side in comparison to the combination of domestic and export demand.


The Whole Turkey category representing 53.6 percent of total storage of 473.7 million lbs. on June 30th 2020 and was 11.2 percent lower than the inventory on June 30th 2019. Tom carcasses in storage decreased by 4.2 percent from June 30th 2019 to 142.6 million lbs. on June 30th 2020. Hen carcasses in storage decreased by 18.8 percent from June 30th 2019 to 111.3 million lbs. on June 30th 2020.


The “Other” and “Unclassified” categories collectively amounted to 123.0 million lbs. or 25.9 percent of inventory on June 30th 2020. The magnitude of these two non-specified categories suggests that the USDA should attempt to classify product more accurately as to specific product.


June 2020 Production

According to the USDA Poultry Slaughter Report released on July 24th 2020 covering June 2020, comprising 20 working days, 19.0 million young turkeys were processed. (2.8 percent lower than June 2019); live weight attained 623.0 million lbs. (5.4 percent more than June 2019); Average live weight was 32.8 lbs. (2.6 percent more than June 2019); RTC attained 497,674 million lbs. (up 5.4 percent from June 2019) with a yield of 79.9 percent. The proportion of frozen product in June attained 39.1 percent of total RTC produced. In June 2020, 1.3 percent of RTC weight was condemned (1.5 percent in June 2019)



Please review comments in the Weekly Broiler Report and the year-to-date export data under the STATISTICS tab.


Outbreaks of low pathogenicity H7N3 avian influenza were reported in ten asymptomatic turkey flocks in North Carolina and one in contiguous South Carolina over the period March 13th to April 6th. Surveillance and quarantine were implemented and affected flocks were promptly depleted with on-site composting. The isolate from one additional flock in South Carolina yielded high pathogenicity H7N3 collected at the time of depletion. Epidemiologic investigations are in progress to ascertain the source of infection. No additional flocks were identified with H7N3 avian influenza virus in affected zones applying two rounds of surveillance.


The Newcastle disease outbreak in Southern California is detailed in the Broiler Weekly Report posted in this edition. The outbreak is officially over with no incident cases since February 25th. No U.S. turkey flocks have been diagnosed with Newcastle disease since 2018.


The USMCA is now in effect. 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. In 2019 Mexico received 176,789 metric tons representing 60.9 percent of turkey exports valued at $427 million.

Copyright © 2020 Simon M. Shane