Poultry Industry News, Comments & More

Weekly Broiler Production and Prices


Chick Placements

The October 3rd edition of the USDA Broiler Hatchery Report confirmed that a total of 213.6 million eggs were set during the week ending September 29th approximately the same as the corresponding week in 2017. A total of 167.2 million day-old chicks was placed among the 19 major broiler-producing states during the week ending September 29th. This was equivalent to the corresponding week in 2017. Total chick placements for the U.S. amounted to 174.5 million, approximately the same as corresponding week in 2017. Average hatchability was 81.8 percent for eggs set three weeks earlier. Broiler chick placements for 2018 through September 29th amounted to 7.17 billion, 1.0 percent higher than YTD 2017.

Broiler Production

For the processing week ending September 29th 169.6 million broilers were processed at an average live weight of 6.25 lbs. (6.22 lbs. last week) and a nominal yield of 76.0 percent. The number of broilers processed was 1.6 percent less than the corresponding processing week in 2017. Processed (RTC) broiler production for the week attained 812.1 million lbs. (369,115 metric tons), 2.4 percent less than in the corresponding week in 2017. Production of RTC for 2018 to date attained 29.53 million lbs. (13.42 million metric tons), 0.7 percent more than the corresponding period in 2017.

The USDA Southern States (SS) benchmark prices in cents per lb. (rounded to nearest cent) as documented in the Broiler Market News Report (Vol. 65 No. 40) October 5th 2018 edition are tabulated with a comparison with the previous week:-


USDA SS. Previous week


USDA SS. Past week










B/S Breasts




Whole Breasts




B/S Thighs




Whole Thighs








Leg Quarters




Wings (cut)




The USDA National Composite Weighted Wholesale price on October 5 th was down 2.0 cents per lb. from the previous week to 80.5 cents per lb. compared to 85.9 cents per lb. during the corresponding week of 2017; 83.1 cents per lb. for September 2018 and 82 cents per lb. for the three-year average.

The USDA posted live-weight data for the past week and YTD 2018 were:-

Live Weight Range (lbs.)





Proportion past week 2018 (%)





Change from 2017 YTD (%)





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

On October 1st 2018 cold storage holdings at selected centers amounted to 84,835 lbs., down 1.0 percent from an inventory of 85,710 lbs. on September 1st 2018.

According to the most recent September 24th 2018 USDACold Storage Report, issued monthly, stocks as of August 31 st 2018 compared to August 31st 2017 showed differences with respect to the following categories:-

  • Total Chicken category increased by18.6 percent to 927.6 million lbs. (421,636 metric tons) on August 31st 2018 compared to 782.1 million lbs. (355,479 metric tons) on August 31st 2017

  • Leg Quarters were down 14.5 percent to 97.9 million lbs. consistent with the data on exports

  • The Breasts and Breast Meat category was up by 2.8 percent to 174.7 million lbs. attributed to continued domestic demand from food service and retail.

  • Wings showed a 53.8 percent increase, contributing to a stock of 97.6 million lbs. reflecting seasonal demand and slowing consumption.

  • Paws and Feet increased by 62.4 percent to 33.8 million lbs. as a result of reduced demand from Asia.

  • It is noted that the Other category comprising 406.4 million lbs. represented a significant 43.8 percent of inventory on August 31st 2018. The high proportion in the Other category suggests further classification or re-allocation by USDA to the designated major categories.


Placements of chicks and level of slaughter are in accordance with USDA projections.

The statutory 90-day period imposed by the OIE expired in mid-June with respect to the two cases of LPAI in Missouri in February and in Texas in March.

There have been more than 150 diagnoses of END involving backyard flocks as of October 1st, in San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Riverside and Ventura Counties combined. The highest concentration in San Bernardino County (97) comprised clusters in close proximity. An isolate of END was obtained from a live-bird market in Los Angeles during the last week of September. The infection is not under control since the monthly incidence rate is increasing along with the area affected. A total of 62 cases were identified in August compared with 34 in July. CHICK-NEWS has called for a comment from APHIS regarding the epidemiology of END in backyard flocks and prospects for control, if not eradication.

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 should not be impeded unless there is extensive dissemination of END with involvement of the commercial poultry industry in California or adjoining states.

CHICK-NEWS previously commented on the possible impact of failure to reconcile differences and achieve an equitable extension to the NAFTA agreement. Provisional agreement was reached at the end of August in negotiations between the U.S. and Mexico. An eleventh-hour agreement with concessions on both sides was concluded with Canada on September 30 th. This has created a trilateral successor to NAFTA entitled the USMCA which must be ratified by the legislators of all three nations.

Broiler exports to Mexico during the first seven months of 2018 attained 359,143 metric tons. This represented 19.8 percent of export volume and 16.0 percent of export value of $299.5 million of the total export value of $1.6 billion. In the absence of either a NAFTA or equivalent agreement, tariffs on chicken could have in theory risen to 75 percent of value creating a non-competitive situation favoring Brazil and Argentina. Fifth-ranked Canada imported 84,068 metric tons of broilers and parts during the first seven months of 2018 valued at $190 million. Collectively our NAFTA neighbors imported broiler products to the value of $519 million in 2017 and $447 million during the first seven months of 2018.

Copyright 2018 Simon M. Shane