Poultry Industry News, Comments & More

Broiler Week


Weekly Broiler Production and Prices, February 22nd 2020.


Chick Placements.

The Broiler Hatchery Report released on February 17th 2021 confirmed that a total of 237.7 million eggs were set during the week ending February 13th 2021, one percent less than the corresponding week of the previous year and 0.3 percent (0.7 million eggs) more than the previous week.


A total of 177.4 million day-old chicks were placed among the 19 major broiler-producing states during the week ending February 13th 2021. Total chick placements for the U.S. amounted to 186.3 million, two percent less than the corresponding week in 2020 and 0.4 percent (0.8 million chicks) less than the previous week. Claimed average hatchability was 80.9 percent for eggs set three weeks earlier, (81.0 percent for the previous week). Cumulative placements for the period January 2nd 2021 through February 13th 2021 amounted to 1.12 billion chicks, two percent lower than the corresponding period in 2020.


Broiler Production

According to the February 19th 2021 USDA Broiler Market News Report (Vol. 68: No. 07) for the processing week ending February 13th 2021, 163.9 million broilers were processed during the past week (previous week 167.9 million) at an average live weight of 6.35 lbs. (6.35 lbs. last week) and a nominal yield of 76 percent. The number of broilers processed was 4.1 percent less than the corresponding processing week in 2020. Processed (RTC) broiler production for the week was 791.2 million lbs. (359,633 metric tons), (810.4 million lbs. last week), 1.8 percent less than the corresponding processing week in 2020. In 2021 Processed (RTC) production attained 5.51 million lbs. (2,502,771 metric tons), 1.7 percent less than YTD 2020.


Broiler Prices

The USDA National Composite Weighted Wholesale price on February 19th 2021 was up 0.4 cent per lb. from the previous week to 83.1 cents per lb., compared to 78.4 cents per lb. during the corresponding week of 2020; 82.3 cents per lb. for January 2021 and 86.0 cents per lb. for the three-year average. The industry still is impacted by the contraction in 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 February 19th 2021 are tabulated with a comparison with the previous week:-



USDA SS1. Past week


USDA SS1. Previous week


Difference. %

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 Feb 13th 2021 and YTD 2021 were:-

Live Weight Range (lbs.)





Proportion past week (%)





Change from 2020 YTD (%)1






  1. Small base for comparison

During the past week broilers for QSR and food service (live, 3.6 lb. to 4.3 lb.) represented 20 percent (last week 16 percent) of processed volume.


On February 15th 2020 cold storage holdings of processed poultry at selected centers amounted to 69,443 lbs., 0.5 percent less than the inventory of 69,094 lbs. on February1st 2021.


According to the most recent February 23rd 2021 USDA Cold Storage Report, issued monthly, stocks as of January 31st 2021 compared to January 31st 2020 showed differences with respect to the following categories:-


  • Total Chicken category fell by 14.6 percent to 817.9 million lbs. (371,781 metric tons) on January 31st 2021 compared to 974.5 million lbs. (435,225 metric tons) on January 31st 2020
  • Leg Quarters were down by 36.9 percent to 59.6 million lbs. consistent with the data on exports. Inventory was down 12.9 percent from December 31st Anticipated purchases by China were initially delayed by COVID-19 port disruptions during the first quarter of 2020. The USDA combined the categories of feet and in-bone products into a comprehensive figure from the second quarter onwards. Given the decline in inventory of leg quarters it is evident that this category is being shipped in progressively greater quantities to a number of importing nations including China. The NCC data classified U.S. exports to China over the first 11 months of 2020 as feet, 41 percent; bone-in, 53 percent and the remainder as wings and offal.
  • The Breasts and Breast Meat category was up 6.9 percent to 239.4 million lbs. indicating decreased domestic demand from retail and a slow recovery of the food service sector
  • Wings showed a 27.4 percent decrease from January 31st 2020, contributing to a stock of 36.7 million lbs. The level of inventory in this category should decline when college and professional sports events are restored. This category was 14.4 percent lower than on December 31st Inventory should decline in the March report reflecting NFL-playoff and Super Bowl consumption
  • Paws and Feet decreased on January 31st 2021 by 10.2 percent to 33.1 million lbs. from January 31st 2020 but inventory increased 12.6 percent from December 31st 2020 to January 31st 2020*. 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 332.8 million lbs. was down 19.6 percent from January 31st 2020 and represented a significant 40.6 percent of inventory on January 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 covering 2020 under the STATISTICS tab)


January 2021 Production

The USDA Poultry Slaughter Report released on February 22nd 2021 covering January 2021 comprising 23 working days recorded a total of 745.5 million head processed (down 9.1 percent from January 2020); Total live weight of 4.79 billion lbs. (down 8.8 percent from January 2020); Unit weight of 6.43 lbs. (up 0.3 percent from January 2020). RTC attained 3.61 billion lbs. (down 8.6 percent from January 2020) with a yield of 75.4 percent. The proportion marketed in January 2021 as chilled comprised 93.3 percent. Ante-mortem condemnation as a proportion of live weight attained 0.21 percent in January 2021 (0.21 percent in January 2020). Post-mortem condemnations as a proportion of processed mass corresponded to 0.50 percent in January 2021. (0.63 percent in January 2020)



Mexico has recognized the OIE principle of regionalization after intensive negotiations between SENASICA and U.S. counterpart the USDA-APHIS assisted by USAPEEC. Provided importing nations adhere to OIE guidelines on regionalization, localized outbreaks should not materially affect exports. The response of China is less predictable give their action regarding E.U. nations in response to African swine fever and avian influenza.


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 the total $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. Fifth-ranked Canada imported 149,851 metric tons of broilers and parts during 2020 valued at $289.2 million. Collectively our NAFTA/USMCA neighbors imported broiler products to the value of $869 million during 2018, $901 million in 2019 and $864 million in 2020.


During 2020 exports of broiler products to China including feet attained 512,587 metric tons valued at $732 million with a unit price of $1,428 per metric ton. Shipments to China were offset by losses to Hong Kong with at least half of U.S. imports transshipped to the mainland prior to April 2020.


Subscribers are referred to the Monthly export review under the STATISTICS tab and USDA projection under the STATISTICS tab.

Copyright © 2021 Simon M. Shane