Poultry Industry News, Comments & More

Broiler Week


Weekly Broiler Production and Prices


Chick Placements.

The Broiler Hatchery Report released on October 7th 2020 confirmed that a total of 219.9 million eggs were set during the week ending October 3rd 2020, fractionally (<0.1 percent) more than in the corresponding week of 2019 and 3.2 percent (7.4 million eggs) less than the previous week. A total of 173.3 million day-old chicks were placed among the 19 major broiler-producing states during the week ending October 3rd 2020. Total chick placements for the U.S. amounted to 182.1 million, two percent less than the corresponding week in 2019 and 0.3 percent (0.6 million chicks) more than the previous week. Claimed average hatchability was 82.6 percent for eggs set three weeks earlier, (82.4 percent for the previous week). Cumulative placements for the period January 4th through October 3rd 2002 amounted to 7.43 billion chicks, one percent lower than the corresponding period in 2019.


Broiler Production

According to the October 9th 2020 USDA Broiler Market News Report (Vol. 67: No. 41) for the processing week ending October 3rd 2020, 169.7 million broilers were processed during the past week (last week 170.6 million) at an average live weight of 6.44 lbs. (6.44 lbs. last week) and a nominal yield of 76.0 percent. The number of broilers processed was 3.3 percent less than the corresponding processing week in 2019. Processed (RTC) broiler production for the week was 830.6 million lbs. (377,567metric tons), (834.8 million lbs. last week) 1.0 percent less than the corresponding processing week in 2019. For YTD 2020 Processed (RTC) production attained 31,513 million lbs. (14,324,268 metric tons), 1.3 percent more than YTD 2019.


Broiler Prices

The USDA National Composite Weighted Wholesale price on October 9th 2020 was up 1.8 cents per lb. from the previous week to 65.1 cents per lb. compared to 78.7 cents per lb. during the corresponding week of 2019; 63.6 cents per lb. for September 2020 and 83.0 cents per lb. for the three-year average. The USDA Composite price has now been relatively stable albeit at a depressed value for over seven weeks. Price moved up 22 cents per lb. from a bottom of 52.7 cents per lb. recorded during the last week of April. The decline during April and May was attributed to the collapse of the food service segment following imposition of COVID-19 restrictions.


The USDA Southern States (SS) benchmark prices in cents per lb. (rounded to nearest cent) as documented in the Broiler Market News Reports October 9th 2020 are tabulated with a comparison with the previous week:-



USDA SS1. Past week


USDA SS1. Previous week




Whole Index








B/S Breast




Whole Breasts




B/S Thighs




Whole Thighs








Leg Quarters




Wings (cut)




  1. USDA Southern States prices


The USDA posted live-weight data for the past week ending October 3rd 2020 and YTD 2020 were:-

Live Weight Range (lbs.)





Proportion past week 2018 (%)





Change from 2018 YTD (%)





During the past week broilers for QSR and food service (live, 3.6 lb. to 4.3 lb.) represented 21 percent (last week 19 percent) of processed volume.


On October 5th 2020 cold storage holdings at selected centers amounted to 83,180 lbs., 1.2 percent less than the inventory of 82,166 lbs. on October 1st 2019.


According to the most recent September 22nd 2020 USDA Cold Storage Report, issued monthly, stocks as of August 31st 2020 compared to August 31st 2019 showed differences with respect to the following categories:-


  • Total Chicken category declined by 0.7 percent to 882.9 million lbs. (401,355 metric tons) on August 31st 2020 compared to 889.6 million lbs. (404,357 metric tons) on August 31st 2019
  • Leg Quarters were up by 10.2 percent to 80.5 million lbs. consistent with the data on exports. Inventory was up 0.8 percent from July 31st 2020 reversing the downward trend from June 2020. Anticipated purchases by China were delayed by COVID-19 port disruptions during the first quarter of 2020. There is no data to suggest that China is importing leg quarters from the U.S. Lower placement of chicks in the U.S. in April and May might have confounded evaluation of the effect of imports on storage volumes incorporated in June and July data. Unit revenue is documented in the Monthly Export Report under the STATISTICS Tab.
  • The Breasts and Breast Meat category was down 0.1 percent to 203.3 million lbs. despite increased domestic demand from retail and a slow recovery of the food service sector
  • Wings showed a 27.1 percent decrease from August 31st 2019, contributing to a stock of 50.9 million lbs. The level of this category will decline if college and professional sports events are restored in late summer and the fall. This category was almost unchanged from July 31st
  • Paws and Feet decreased in August 2020 by 14.6 percent to 26.8 million lbs. from August 31st Inventory increased 13.6 percent from July 31st 2020 to August 31st 2020 denoting lower exports of this category to China*. It will take until the fourth quarter to determine the effect of the Phase-One trade agreement with China coupled with the end of the COVID-19 lockdown on the total export of feet. March and April export data suggest displacement of sales from Hong Kong to China by comparing previous data for Hong Kong. Prior to April approximately half of the shipments of paws and feet destined for Hong Kong were obviously landed and transshipped to the Mainland.
  • It is noted that the Other category comprising 373.3 million lbs. was down 6.1 percent from August 31st 2019, represented a significant 42.3 percent of inventory on August 31st The high proportion in the Other category suggests further classification or re-allocation by USDA to the designated major categories.

*(See Poultry Meat Export Report under the STATISTICS Tab)


August 2020 Production

The USDA Poultry Slaughter Report released on September 24th covering August 2020 comprising 22 working days recorded a total of 771.6 million head processed (down 4.2 percent from August 2019); Live weight of 4.95 billion lbs. (down 3.0 percent from August 2019); Unit weight of 6.42 lbs. (up 1.3 percent from August 2019). RTC attained 3.73 billion lbs. (down 2.9 percent from August 2019) with a yield of 75.3 percent. The proportion marketed in August 2020 as chilled comprised 92.9 percent. Ante-mortem condemnation as a proportion of live weight attained 0.20 percent in August 2020 (0.23 percent August 2019). Post-mortem condemnations as a proportion of processed mass corresponded to 0.56 percent. (0.58 percent in August 2019)



The 22-month outbreak of exotic Newcastle disease (END) is officially over.


APHIS recorded 476 cases of velogenic viscerotropic Newcastle disease (vvND) in backyard flocks (predominantly “fighting cocks” but many maintained for table eggs) in the Counties of San Bernardino (164), Riverside (262), Los Angeles (46), Alameda (1), San Diego (1) and Ventura (1) from late-May 2018 to February 25th 2020.


The limited outbreak of avian influenza in turkey flocks in the Carolinas is now officially over. All flocks were rapidly depleted and disposed of by composting on site.


Mexico has recognized the OIE principle of regionalization after intensive negotiations between SENASICA and U.S. counterparts in USDA-APHIS assisted by USAPEEC. Exports of broiler parts, fertile eggs and breeding stock were not constrained since there was no extensive dissemination of END or widespread involvement of the commercial poultry industry in central or northern California or adjoining states.


Provided importing nations adhere to OIE guidelines on regionalization, the limited cluster of rapidly eradicated outbreak of H7N3 low pathogenicity avian influenza in turkey flocks in the Carolinas should not materially affect exports. Bans on imports produced in South Carolina or transshipped through the State to export ports have been lifted by most importing nations. The 90-day period following disposal of the last affected flock has long since passed.


The USMCA is now in effect. During 2019 broiler exports to Mexico attained 683,018 metric tons. This represented 21.1 percent of export volume and 18.7 percent of export value (amounting to $605 million) of $3.23 billion. In the absence of the USMCA signed a year ago, tariffs on chicken could have risen to 75 percent of value creating a non-competitive situation favoring Brazil and Argentina. Sixth-ranked Canada imported 130,132 metric tons of broilers and parts during 2019 valued at $296.1 million. Collectively our NAFTA/USMCA neighbors imported broiler products to the value of $869 million during 2018 and $901 million in 2019.

Copyright © 2020 Simon M. Shane