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Email Content: Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

Meat Exports


U.S. Broiler and Turkey Exports, January-March 2024.                   




Total exports of bone-in broiler parts and feet during January-March 2024 attained 846,031 metric tons, 9.6 percent lower than in January-March 2023 (935,942 metric tons). Total value of broiler exports decreased by 3.0 percent to $1,113.9 million ($1,148.5 million).


Total export volume of turkey products during January-March 2024 attained 49,831 metric tons, 29.9 percent more than in January-March 2023 (38,373 metric tons). Total value of turkey exports increased by 7.7 percent to $140.7 million ($130.7 million).


Unit price for the broiler industry is constrained by the fact that leg quarters comprise over 97 percent of broiler meat exports by volume (excluding feet). From the first quarter of 2021 through 2022, unit value of leg quarters increased consistent with international demand followed by a decline in 2023. Leg quarters represent a relatively low-value undifferentiated commodity lacking in pricing power. Exporters of commodities are subjected to competition from domestic production in importing nations. Generic products such as leg quarters are vulnerable to trade disputes and embargos based on real or contrived disease restrictions.


HPAI has emerged as a panornitic affecting the poultry meat industries of four continents with seasonal outbreaks. The incidence rate and location of cases in the U.S. limits eligibility for export depending on restrictions imposed by importing nations


Ongoing outbreaks of African swine fever in China and Southeast Asia from early 2019 and Europe from 2010 onwards reduced the availability of pork. In addition, disruptions in chicken production and logistics due to COVID restrictions decreased availability of protein with international repercussions on trade in chicken and pork. The demand for pork imports to China has diminished with restoration of domestic hog production to the extent of overproduction. Mild oversupply is evident in the white-feathered broiler sector with implications for exports other than feet extending into 2024.




During January-March 2024 the National Chicken Council (NCC), citing USDA-FAS data, documented exports of 835,492 metric tons of chicken parts and other forms (whole and prepared), down 9.1 percent from January-March 2023. Exports were valued at $855.5 million with a weighted average unit value of $1,388 per metric ton.


The NCC breakdown of chicken exports for January-March 2024 by proportion and unit price for each category compared with the corresponding months in 2023 (with the unit price in parentheses) comprised:-




  • Chicken parts (excluding feet)    96.8%; Unit value  $1,257 per metric ton   ($1,179)
  • Prepared chicken                     2.6%; Unit value  $4,305 per metric ton   ($4,245)
  • Whole chicken                         0.6%; Unit value  $1,681 per metric ton   ($1,580)
  • Composite Total                  100.0%;  Av. value   $1,338 per metric ton  ($1,240)


The following table prepared from USDA data circulated by the USAPEEC, compares values for poultry meat exports during January-March 2024 compared with the corresponding months of 2023:-




     Jan.-March 2023


      Jan.-March 2024



Broiler Meat & Feet




Volume (metric tons)



      -8,991   (-9.6%)

Value ($ millions)



         -346   (-3.0%)

Unit value ($/m. ton)



          +90   (+7.3%)

Turkey Meat




Volume (metric tons)



  +11,458    (+29.9%)

Value ($ millions)



      +10.0    ( +8.9%)

Unit value ($/m. ton)



        -515    (-15.0%)



                                    JANUARY-MARCH 2024 COMPARED TO 2023





Total broiler parts, predominantly leg quarters but including feet, exported during January-March 2024 compared with the corresponding months 2023 declined by 9.6 percent in volume and 3.0 percent in value. Unit value was 7.3 percent higher to $1,317 per metric ton.


During 2023 exports attained 3,635,178 metric tons valued at $4,739 million, down 4.2 percent in volume and down 9.2 percent in value compared to 2022. Unit value was down 9.5 percent to $1,284 per metric ton


Broiler imports in 2023 were projected to attain 72,000 metric tons (158 million lbs.)

The top five importers of broiler meat represented 47.4 percent of shipments during January-March 2024. The top ten importers comprised 65.6 percent of the total volume reflecting concentration among the significant importing nations.


During January-March 2024 Mexico was the first-ranked importer by volume and value with 179,472 metric tons representing 21.2 percent of export volume down 2.9 percent from January-March 2023. Value at $214.9 million was 19.3 percent of the total for exported broiler products during January-March 2024 and up 11.4 percent from 2023, but with a 14.5 percent increase in unit price to $1,197 per metric ton. Value was up 11.3 percent to $211.9 million. During March 2024 volume was down 10.8 percent to 55,087 metric tons and value fell by 0.6 percent from March 2023 to $68.2 million.


Cuba was the 2nd-ranked importer based on volume during January-March 2024 with 73,012 metric tons valued at $82.9 million. Exports were up 3.7 percent in volume and up 21.3 percent in value compared to January-March 2023. Unit price was $1,135 per metric ton. During March exports were up 44.5 percent in volume to 26,326 metric tons and up 64.6 percent in value to $29.3 compared to March 2023.


Taiwan was 3rd ranked as an importer during January-March 2024 with 59.836 metric tons valued at $73.8 million down 10.3 percent and 12.1 percent in volume and value respectively, compared to the previous year. Unit price was $1,234 per metric ton. During March exports were down 60.0 percent in volume to 12,481 metric tons and down 57.4 percent in value to $15.2 compared to March 2023.


During January-March 2024 exports to China, 4th-ranked by volume and 2nd ranked by value represented 6.2 percent by volume and 9.3 percent by value of shipments. Exports were down 56.9 percent in volume to 52,957 metric tons and down 47.9 percent in value to $103.5 million compared to January-March 2023.  Unit price was $1,954 per metric ton up 20.8 percent. During March 2024 China ranked 6th among importers based on volume receiving 11,685 metric tons down 73.8 percent from March 2023. Exports in March 2024 were valued at $22.1 million down 69.1 percent with a unit price of $1,166 per metric ton.


For 2023, 405,313 metric tons of U.S. broiler products were shipped to China, valued at $711,172 with an average unit value of $1,755 per metric ton. A breakdown of product categories and prices was provided by USAPEEC. Paws and feet represented 68.5 percent of volume and 73.1 percent of value with a unit price of $1,871 per metric ton. Legs and leg quarters comprising 22.6 percent of volume and 12.8 percent of value were priced at $990 per metric ton below the $1,302 average for all U.S. exports excluding China. Wings comprised 4.6 percent of volume and 5.7 percent of value with a unit price of $2,190 per metric ton. All other poultry products (including 4 tons of duck meat) amounting to 4.2 percent of volume and 8.4 percent of value attained an average unit price of $3,485 per metric ton


During January-March 2023 exports to Hong Kong increased by 236 percent in volume to 22,789 metric tons and 203 percent in value to $34.2 million with a unit price of $1,501 per metric ton. In 2022 and 2023 unit prices were $1,834 and $1,671 per metric ton respectively. Accordingly consignments are presumed to comprise a high proportion of feet with assumed transshipment to the Mainland as in past years.


During January-March 2024 nations gaining in volume compared to the corresponding period in 2022 (with the percentage change indicated) in descending order of volume with ranking indicated by numeral were:-


2. Cuba (+4%); 5. Philippines, (+30%);  7. Viet Nam, (+21%) 9. UAE, (+64%);.           11. Hong-Kong, (+235%) and The Republic of Georgia, (+50%)        


Losses during January-March 2024 offset the gains in exports with declines for:-

1. Mexico, (-3%); 3. Taiwan, (-10); 4. China, (-57%); 8. Canada, (-5%);

10.Angola, (-16%);  13. Haiti, (-34%); 14. Congo –Braz., (-29%); 15, Dominican Republic, (-24%) and 16. Ghana, (-25%).






The volume of turkey meat exported during January-March 2024 increased by 29.9 percent to 49,831 metric tons from January-March 2023 and value was 7.7 percent higher to $140.7 million compared to January-March 2023. Average unit value was 15.1 percent lower to $2,891 per metric ton.


Imports of turkey products were projected to rise to 38,640 metric tons in 2023.


For the entire year of 2023 export volume increased by 20.2 percent to 221,098 metric tons compared to 2022 and value fell by 2.0 percent to $620 million reflecting an 18.5 percent decrease in unit value to $2,829 per metric ton.


Mexico was the leading importer of turkey products during January- March 2024 with 36,449 metric tons representing 73.1 percent of total volume of 49,831 metric tons. Value at $100.2 million was 71.2 percent of the total with a unit price of $2,749 per metric ton. Volume was 32.9 percent higher and value was 3.3 percent higher than for January-March 2023. Unit value was down 22.3 percent to $2,749 per metric ton. During March Mexico imported 12,329 metric tons valued atb$35.6 million, up 14.9 percent in volume but down 6.1 percent in value.


The nations of the Caribbean (2,606 metric tons); Canada (1,474); Central America, (1,260)  and sub-Saharan Africa (936) collectively imported 5,016 metric tons of turkey products in January-March 2024 representing 17.1 percent of volume and 20.7 percent of value amounting to $12.9 million. Unit price was $2,571. Regional unit prices per metric ton ranged from $1,761 for the Caribbean to $3,596 for Canada.


During January-March 2024 nations increasing volumes of purchases, albeit over a small base, compared to the corresponding months in 2023 with ranking comprised:-

  1. Mexico, (+33%); Leeward-Windward Islands, (+84%); and South Africa, (856%)

2. Canada reduced imports by 13 percent







The May 16th 2024 Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook Report, retained the projection for 2024 exports of broiler products at 3.131 million metric tons (6,889 million lbs.). This value represents 14.8 percent of the projected production of 21.614 million metric tons (47,550 million lb.) of broiler RTC by the U.S. industry.


For 2025 exports of broiler products were forecast at 3.193 million metric tons (7,025 million lbs.), equivalent to 14.8 percent of forecast annual production of 21.409 million metric tons (46,875 million lbs.)


Projected export of turkey products in 2024 will be 231,818 metric tons, (510 million lbs.) or 9.8 percent of annual production of 2.443 million metric tons (5,214 million lbs.).


For 2025 exports of turkey products were forecast at 234,090 metric tons (515 million lbs.) equivalent to 9.7 percent of forecast annual production of 2.418 million metric tons (5,320 million lbs.)



It is important to recognize that exports of chicken and turkey meat products to our USMCA partners amounted to $1,264 million in 2021, $1,647 million during 2022 and $1,696 in 2023. It will be necessary for all three parties to the USMCA to respect the terms of the agreement since punitive action against Mexico or Canada on issues unrelated to poultry products will result in reciprocal action by our trading partners to the possible detriment of U.S. agro-industries.


 The emergence of H5N1strain avian influenza virus with a Eurasian genome in migratory waterfowl in all four Flyways during 2022 was responsible for sporadic outbreaks of avian influenza in backyard flocks and serious commercial losses in egg-producing complexes and turkey flocks but to a lesser extent in broilers. The probability of outbreaks of HPAI over succeeding weeks appears more likely as spring migration of waterfowl has commenced. Incident cases during April resulted in depletion of 8.5 million hens and three turkey flocks. Outbreaks that continued into May affecting egg-production and turkeys will be a function of shedding by migratory and domestic birds and possibly mammals. The extent of protection of commercial flocks at present relies on the intensity and efficiency of biosecurity including wild bird laser repellant installations, representing investment in structural improvements and operational procedures. These measures are apparently inadequate to provide absolute protection, suggesting the need for preventive vaccination in high-risk areas for egg-producing, breeder and turkey flocks.


The application of restricted county-wide embargos following the limited and regional cases of HPAI in broilers with restoration of eligibility 28 days after decontamination has supported export volume for the U.S. broiler industry. Exports of turkey products were more constrained with plants processing turkeys in Minnesota, the Dakotas, Wisconsin and Iowa impacted.  Most nations have now lifted embargos that were previously placed on entire states or counties following outbreaks in the 4th quarter of 2024 as the WOAH mandated post-decontamination period has expired. The challenge will be to gain acceptance for vaccination based on intensive surveillance. Recognition that H5N1 HPAI is panornitic in distribution across six continents and is now seasonally or regionally endemic in many nations with intensive poultry production, suggests that vaccination will have to be accepted among trading partners as an adjunct to control measures in accordance with WOAH policy.


The live-bird market system supplying metropolitan areas, the presence of numerous backyard flocks, fighting cocks and commercial laying hens allowed outside access, potentially in contact with migratory and now some resident bird species, all represent an ongoing danger to the entire U.S. commercial industry. The live-bird segments of U.S. poultry production represent a risk to the export eligibility of the broiler and turkey industries notwithstanding compartmentalization for breeders and regionalization to counties or states for commercial production.

Copyright © 2024 Simon M. Shane