Poultry Industry News, Comments & More

Turkey Week


Weekly Turkey Production and Prices


Poult Production and Placement:

The September 15th edition of the USDA Turkey Hatchery Report, issued monthly, documented 25.9 million eggs in incubators on September 1st 2020 (27.2 million eggs on August 1st 2020) and down 2.7 percent (0.7 million eggs) from September 1st 2019.


A total of 22.3 million poults were hatched during August 2020 (23.8 million in July 2020), representing a decrease of 8.0 percent from August 2019.


A total of 20.6 million poults were placed on farms in the U.S. in August 2020, (23.0 million in July 2020), 10.4 percent less than in August 2019. This suggests disposal of 1.6 million poults during the month (0.9 million in July 2020). Assuming all tom poults were placed (an unsubstantiated estimate in a fluctuating demand for products), 14.4 percent of August-hatched hen poults or 7.2 percent of all August-hatched poults were not placed.


For the twelve-month period September 2019 through August 2020 inclusive, 277.5 million poults were hatched and 254.2 million were placed. This suggests disposal of 23.4 million poults. Assuming all tom poults were placed, (representing a broad assumption), 16.9 percent of hen poults or 8.4 percent of all poults hatched during the period were not placed.

Turkey Production:

The October 9th 2020 edition of the USDA Turkey Market News Report (Vol. 67: No. 41) confirmed the following provisional data for turkeys slaughtered under Federal inspection:-

  • For the processing week ending October 3rd 2020, 1.794 million young hens were slaughtered during the processing week at a live weight of 16.6 lbs. (last week 1.745 million at 16.4 lbs.). During the corresponding week in 2019, 1.713 million hens were processed, 2.8 percent less than the current week and 4.7 percent more than the corresponding week in 2019. Ready-to-cook (RTC) hen weight for the week attained 23.1 million lbs. (10,490 metric tons), 1.0 percent more than the corresponding processing week of 2019. Dressing percentage was a nominal 80.5. For YTD 2020 RTC hen production attained 906.7 million lbs. (412,145 metric tons), 1.3 percent less than during YTD 2019.
  • For the processing week ending October 3rd 2020, 2.268 million toms were slaughtered at 43.8 lbs. compared to 2.232 million toms processed during the previous week at 41.6 lbs. For the corresponding processing week in 2019, 2.538 million toms were processed. Ready-to-cook tom weight for the week attained 80.0 million lbs. (36,374 metric tons), 5.0 percent less than the corresponding processing week in 2019. Dressing percentage was a nominal 80.5 percent. For 2020 YTD, RTC tom product attained 3.20 million lbs. (1,453,462 metric tons), 2.5 percent less than for the YTD 2019.
  • The National average frozen hen price during the past week was 113.0 cents per lb., down 6.0 cent per lb. from the previous week and up 16 cents from the three-year average. The following prices rounded to nearest cent were documented for domestic and export trading on October 9th 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



Drums (toms for export)



Wings (V-cut tom)



Wings (V-cut hens)


No new quotation

Thigh Meat (frozen for export)



Mechanically Separated (export)





On October 5th 2019 cold storage holdings at selected centers amounted to 74,973 lbs., 3.7 percent less than the inventory of 77,846 lbs. on October 1st 2020.


The September 22nd edition of the USDA Cold Storage Report issued monthly, documented a total turkey stock of 531.8 million lbs. (241,710 metric tons) on August 31st 2020, equivalent to 2.3 weeks production and down 5.6 percent compared to the inventory on August 31st 2019. The August 31st 2020 value was 1.8 percent above the July 31st 2020 level. This rise denotes a slight imbalance between supply in comparison to the combination of domestic and export demand. The situation is however an improvement on the 10.2 percent increase from June to July 2020.


The Whole Turkey category representing 54.2 percent of total storage of 531.8 million lbs. on August 31st 2020 and was 10.7 percent lower than the inventory on August 31st 2019. Tom carcasses in storage decreased by 7.3 percent from August 31st 2019 to 153.2 million lbs. on August 31st 2020. Hen carcasses in storage decreased by 14.2 percent from August 31st 2019 to 135.2 million lbs. on August 31st 2020.


The “Other” and “Unclassified” categories collectively amounted to 143.6 million lbs. or 27.0 percent of inventory on August 31st 2020. The magnitude of these two non-specified categories suggests that the USDA should attempt to classify product more accurately as to specific product.


August 2020 Production

According to the USDA Poultry Slaughter Report released on September 24th 2020 covering August 2020, comprising 22 working days, 18.65 million young turkeys were processed. (7.3 percent lower than August 2019); live weight attained 589.9 million lbs. (5.2 percent less than August 2019); Average live weight was 31.6 lbs. (2.3 percent more than August 2019); RTC attained 471,034 million lbs. (down 5.2 percent from August 2019) with a yield of 79.8 percent. The proportion of frozen product in August attained 36.5 percent of total RTC produced. In August 2020 ante-mortem condemnation attained 0.32 percent of live weight, (0.27 in August 2019). In August 2020, 1.3 percent of RTC weight was condemned (1.4 percent in August 2019)



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


The limited outbreak of low pathogenicity H7N3 avian influenza in the Carolinas is now officially over. Ten asymptomatic turkey flocks in North Carolina and one in contiguous South Carolina were infected 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 characterized after flock depletion. Epidemiologic investigations did not ascertain the source of infection. No additional flocks were identified with H7N3 avian influenza virus in affected zones applying two rounds of surveillance. Export and transshipment restrictions from South Carolina have been lifted by most importing nations.


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 has been in effect since July 1st. 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