Poultry Industry News, Comments & More

Broiler Month, January 2022


Monthly Broiler Production and Prices, January 28th 2022.


Chick Placements.

According to the January 18th USDA Broiler Hatchery Reports 1,196 million eggs were set over five weeks extending from December 17th 2022 through January 14th 2023.


Total placements for the U.S. over the five-week period amounted to 940 million chicks. Claimed hatchability for the period averaged 80.1 percent for eggs set three weeks earlier (80.2 percent for the preceding four-week period). Each 1.0 percent change in hatchability represents 1.8 million chicks placed per week with the current range of weekly settings.


Cumulative chick placements for the period January 8th 2022 through December 31st amounted to 9.79 billion chicks, approximately two percent higher than the corresponding period in 2021.


Low chick placement during 2021 and the first quarter of 2022 was attributed to setting a proportion of hatching eggs with depressed fertility that were derived from high-yield breed combinations selected by some integrators. Additional breeder flocks were placed to compensate for reduced fertility and their contribution is reflected in broilers harvested during the third quarter of 2022 onwards.


According to the January 20th 2023 edition of USDA Chickens and Eggs pullet breeder chicks placed during December amounted to 10.5 million down 0.6 percent (65,000 pullet chicks) from December 2021 but 1.45 million chicks or 16.0 percent higher than the previous month of November 2022. Broiler breeder hen complement attained 62.6 million in December 2022, higher than December 2021 by 56,000 hens (<0.1 percent).


Broiler Production


According to the new-format January 27th USDA Broiler Market News Report for the processing week ending January 21st 2022, 160.1 million broilers were processed at 6.35 lbs. live. This was 5.9 percent less than the 170.2 million broilers processed during the corresponding week in the previous month of December 2022 and 3.6 percent more than the 154.5 million processed during the corresponding week in December 2021. Broilers processed in 2023 to date amounted to 494 million, 1.1 percent more than for the corresponding period in 2022.

Ready to cook (RTC) weight for the most recent week was 772.5 million lbs. (351,133 metric tons).  This was 8.5 percent more than the 844.5 million lbs. processed during the corresponding week in December 2022 and 4.3 percent more than the 740.7 million lbs. during the corresponding week in January 2022. Dressing percentage was a nominal 76.0 percent. For 2023 to date RTC broiler production attained 2,407 million lbs. (1.094 million metric tons). This quantity is 2.1 percent more than the corresponding period in 2022.


Broiler Prices

The USDA National Composite Weighted Wholesale price on January 21st 2023 was down 2.1 cents per lb. or 1.7 percent compared to December 17th 2022 at 121.1 cents per lb. The attached USDA figure denotes three-year average prices for whole birds and breasts.


Leading QSRs are using increasing quantities of breast meat for sandwiches, strips and nuggets. Inflation is increasing consumer awareness of value with chicken benefitting at the expense of beef and pork


The USDA National benchmark prices in cents per lb. (rounded to nearest cent) are tabulated from the new version of the Broiler Market News Report.


   USDA       December

   17th 2022




     18th 2023












B/S Breast




Whole Breasts




B/S Thighs




Whole Thighs








Leg Quarters




Wings (cut)




* most probable value

    The USDA posted live-weight data for the past week ending January 21st and YTD 2023 were:-


Live Weight Range (lbs.)










Proportion past week  (%)










Change from 2020 YTD (%)










During the week ending January 21st 2023 broilers for QSR and food service (live, 3.6 lb. to 4.3 lb.) represented 14 percent of processed volume compared to 17 percent during the corresponding week in December 2022.


On January 23rd 2023 cold storage holdings of processed poultry other than chicken at selected centers amounted to 72,259 lbs. 6.7 percent less than the inventory of 77,415 lbs. on January 1st 2023.


According to the January 25th 2022 USDA Cold Storage Report, issued monthly, stocks as of December 31st 2022 compared to December 31st 2021 showed differences with respect to the following categories:-

  • Total Chicken category attained 931.8 million lbs. (423,565 metric tons) corresponding to approximately 1.4 weeks production based on average 2022 weekly RTC output. The December 31st 2022 inventory was up 25.4 percent compared to 743.0 million lbs. (337,718 metric tons) on December 31st 2021
  • Leg Quarters were up by 21.5 percent to 93.5 million lbs. compared to December 31st 2021 consistent with the data on exports. Inventory was down 4.9 percent from November 30th Given the trend in inventory of leg quarters it is evident that this category continues to be shipped in varying quantities as the principal (96 percent) chicken export product to a number of nations but with proportionately limited quantities of this category to China.
  • The Breasts and Breast Meat category was up 63.4 percent from December 31st 2021 to 250.3 million lbs. indicating a reduced level of domestic demand from retail and delayed recovery of the food service sector following COVID and influenced by inflation. December 31st 2022 stocks were 3.7 percent higher than on November 30th 2022 suggesting lower retail and food service demand despite promotion of chicken sandwiches by QSRs.
  • Wings showed an 11.1 percent increase from December 31st 2021, contributing to a stock of 82.3 million lbs. This category was 4.7 percent higher than on November 30th The increase in stock over the past year denotes lower demand attributed to “wing fatigue” in addition to competition from “boneless wings.” Increased consumption traditionally associated with significant sports events was inadequate to reduce volume in storage hence the progressive reduction in unit price in recent weeks. The upcoming Super Bowl should reduce stock if traditional game-watching habits persist.
  • Paws and Feet inventory was 0.8 percent lower on December 31st 2022 to 34.2 million lbs. compared to December 31st 2021 and inventory was 4.6 percent lower than November 30th Prior to April 2020 it is evident that approximately half of the shipments of paws and feet destined for Hong Kong were landed and transshipped to the Mainland. Data released by the USAPEEC confirmed that during the first ten months of 2022, 421,034 metric tons of paws and feet representing 78.6 percent of broiler exports to China were valued at $818 million with a unit price of $1,943 per metric ton.
  • It is noted that the Other category comprising 369.5 million lbs. was up 17.9 percent from December 31st 2021 but represented a significant 39.3 percent of inventory on December 31st The high proportion in the Other category suggests further classification or re-allocation by USDA to the designated major categories.

December 2022 Production


The USDA Poultry Slaughter Report released on January 25th covering December 2022 comprised 23 working week days. The following values were documented for the month:-

  • A total of 775.7 million broilers were processed, down 1.4 percent from December 2021;
  • Total live weight was 5,088 million lbs., up 3.8 percent from December 2021;
  • Unit live weight was 6.56 lbs., up 2.3 percent from December 2021.
  • RTC attained 3,847 million lbs., up 4.0 percent from December 2021.
  • WOG yield was 75.6 percent compared to 75.5 percent in December 2021.
  • The proportion marketed as chilled in December 2022 comprised 93.6 percent of RTC output.
  • Ante-mortem condemnation as a proportion of live weight attained 0.22 percent during December 2022 compared to 0.20 percent in December 2021.
  • Post-mortem condemnations as a proportion of processed mass corresponded to 0.50 percent during December 2022 compared to 0.48 percent in December 2021.



For 2021 exports of broiler parts and feet combined attained a volume of 3,633,624 metric tons (3,574,906 metric tons in 2020) with a value of $4,477 million ($3,557 million in 2020). Unit value increased 23.8 percent from 2020 to $1,232 per metric ton (including feet) from $995 (excluding feet during January-April 2020.). For the eleven months of 2022 broiler exports including feet attained 3,490,748 metric tons up 5.5 percent from the corresponding period in 2021. Value increased by 19.0 percent to $4,843 million with a unit value of $1,387 per metric ton, up 12.8 percent.


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 of avian influenza and Newcastle disease will affect exports from states with outbreaks in commercial flocks. The response of China is less predictable but as of the present only county-wide bans have been imposed. Their reaction to outbreaks will be influenced more by self-interest than considerations of scientific fact or international trade obligations.


Collectively our NAFTA/USMCA neighbors imported broiler products to the value of $869 million during 2018, $901 million in 2019, $864 million in 2020 and $1,175 million in 2021. For the first eleven months of 2022 broiler value attained $1,166 million.


For 2023, USDA projects RTC broiler production to be 46,800 million lbs. with a per capita consumption of 100.8 lbs. Exports amounting to 7,315 million lbs. will represent 15.6 percent of production.


Effective mid-January 2023 total losses due to HPAI amounted to 2.9 million broilers on 15 farms in seven states. A total of 330,000 broiler breeders have been depopulated on eleven farms in six states.

Copyright © 2023 Simon M. Shane