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U.S. Meat Exports


U.S. Broiler and Turkey Exports for January-November 2022.


Total exports of bone-in broiler parts and feet for the first eleven months of 2022 attained 3,490,748 metric tons, 5.5 percent more than during the corresponding months in 2021 (3,308,924 metric tons). Total value of exports increased by 19.0 percent to $4,843 million ($4,069 million 2021).


Unit price is constrained by the fact that leg quarters comprise over 96 percent of broiler meat exports by volume (excluding feet). From the first quarter of 2021 to date unit value of leg quarters has increased consistent with international demand. Despite the recent increase in unit price for exports, 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.


During January-November 2022 the National Chicken Council (NCC), citing USDA-FAS data, documented exports of 3,518,483 metric tons of chicken parts and other forms (whole and prepared) valued at $4,923 million with a weighted average unit value of $1,399 per metric ton, 12.5 percent higher in unit value than for January-November 2021 ($1,244 per metric ton).


The NCC breakdown of chicken exports during January-November 2022 by proportion and unit price for each broiler category compared with the corresponding months in 2021 (with the unit price in parentheses) comprised:-


  • Chicken parts 1%; Unit value $1,346 per metric ton ($1,183)
  • Prepared chicken 0%; Unit value $3,919 per metric ton ($2,911)
  • Whole chicken 9%; Unit value $1,460 per metric ton ($1,417) 

The outbreaks of African swine fever in China and Southeast Asia from early 2019 onwards coupled with disruptions in chicken production and logistics thereafter due to COVID restrictions, increased demand for protein with international repercussions on trade in chicken and pork. The demand for pork imports to China has diminished as hog production is restored and mild overproduction is evident in the white-feathered broiler sector with implications for exports other than feet during the second half of 2022.


The following table prepared from USDA data circulated by the USAPEEC, compares values for poultry meat exports for January-November 2022 with the corresponding months of 2021:-








Broiler Meat & Feet




Volume (metric tons)



+181,824 (+5.5%)

Value ($ millions)



+774 (+19.0%)

Unit value ($/m. ton)



+157 (+12.8%)

Turkey Meat




Volume (metric tons)



-56,959 (-24.9%)

Value ($ millions)



-12 (-2.0%)

Unit value ($/m. ton)



+ 807 (+30.6%)



2021 AND 2022




Total broiler parts, predominantly leg quarters but including feet, exported during January-November 2022 as compared with 2021 increased by 5.5 percent in volume and 19.0 percent in value. Unit value was 12.8 percent higher at $1,387 per metric ton. Broiler imports in 2022 are projected to attain 85.5 thousand metric tons (188 million lbs.)


The top five importers of broiler meat represented 52.4 percent of shipments during January-November 2022. The top ten importers comprised 69.9 percent of the total volume reflecting concentration among the significant importing nations.


During November 2022 volume was 6.5 percent higher to 328,563 metric tons compared to November 2021. Value was 8.2 percent higher to $418 million attributed to a 1.6 percent increase in unit value to $1,273 per metric ton.


For the first eleven months of 2022 exports of all broiler products to first-ranked (by value) China was 41.6 percent higher by volume at 583,425 metric tons and 32.5 percent higher by value at $1,024 million compared to January-October 2021. Average unit price for all exports to China in January-November 2022 was $1,755 per ton compared with $1,387 per ton for all exports, or excluding China $1,314 per ton, demonstrating the weighting of feet on export value. During November2022 1st ranked China (by value) imported 47,759 metric tons valued at $78.8 million with a unit value of $1,650 per metric ton


According to USDA statistics during the first ten months of 2022 feet accounted for 78.6 percent of volume at 421,034 metric ton, valued at $818 million with a unit price of $1,943 per metric ton. Other broiler products exported to China during January-October 2022 included legs and leg quarters at 16.0 percent of volume with a unit price of $867 per ton; wings 1.9 percent at a unit price of $1,830 per metric ton and other products including edible giblets comprising 3.5 percent of volume at $1,818 per metric ton. 


During January-November 2022 Mexico was the first-ranked importer by volume and second by value with 602,904 metric tons representing 17.3 percent of export volume down 8.7 percent from January-November 2021. Value at $706 million was 14.6 percent of the total for exported broiler products during the eleven months and down 8.5 percent from the corresponding months in 2021, with no change in unit price at $1,190 per metric ton. During November Mexico imported 62,131 metric tons valued at $61.4 million. These values were respectively 9.8 percent higher in volume and 2.7 percent lower in value than in November 2021


Over the eleven months of 2022 nations gaining in volume compared to the corresponding period in 2021 (with the percentage change indicated) in descending order of volume were:-


China (+42%); Taiwan, (+49%); Philippines, (+23%); Angola. (+29%); Canada, (+6%); Viet Nam, (+20%); Congo-Brazzaville, (+38%) and Georgia, (+50%);


Losses over January-November 2022 offset gains in exports with declines for:-

Cuba, (-11%); Guatemala, (-5%); Haiti, (-18%); Colombia, (-23%); Republic of South Africa, (-21%); Kazakhstan, (-37%) and Ghana, (-37%)




The volume of turkey meat exported during the first eleven months of 2022 decreased by 24.9 percent from the corresponding months in 2021 and value fell by 2.0 percent compared to January-November 2021 with an increase in average unit value of 30.6 percent from $2,640 per metric ton to $3,447 per metric ton. Imports of turkey products are projected at 37,270 metric tons in 2022 rising to 38,640 metric tons in 2023.


For November 2022 volume declined 35.3 percent compared to November 2021 to 13,768 metric tons. Value was lower by 17.1 percent compared to November 2021 to $52.2 million despite an increase in unit value of 28.3 percent to $3,791 per metric ton.


For the entire year of 2021 export volume declined by 3.9 percent to 249,045 metric tons compared to 2020 but value increased by 14.0 percent to $665 million reflecting a 59.1 percent increase in unit value to $3,321 per metric ton. This trend is apparent in 2022.


During January-November 2022 only Canada gained in volume compared to 2021 with an increase of 7.0 percent. The 2022 gain was offset by losses in exports to Mexico, (-22%); China, (-24%); Benin/Nigeria, (-47%); Guatemala, (-22%) and Jamaica, (-5%).




The January 19th 2022 Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook Report, forecast a 1.0 percent decrease in broiler exports in 2022 to 3.310 million metric tons (7,282 million lbs.) compared to the previous year. For 2023 exports of broiler products were projected to be 3.325 million metric tons (7,315 million lbs.). This value represents 15.6 percent of the projected production of 21.272 million metric tons (46,800 million lb.) of broiler RTC by the U.S. industry.


For 2022, the USDA forecast turkey exports to fall by 26.0 percent to 184,091 metric tons (405,000 million lbs.) representing 7.8 percent of production.

Projected export of turkey products in 2023 will be 181,818 metric tons, (400,000 million lbs.) or 7.2 percent of annual production of 2.527 million metric tons (5,560 million lbs.).


The Administration successfully re-negotiated NAFTA into a new trilateral USMCA on September 30th 2018.This agreement was ratified by legislatures of the three nations and took effect on July 1st 2020. It is important to recognize that exports of chicken and turkey meat products to our NAFTA partners amounted to $1,264 million in 2021 and $1,478 million during the first ten months of the present year. It will be important to respect the terms of the USMCA since punitive action against Mexico or Canada on other issues will result in reciprocal action by our trading partners to the possible detriment of the poultry and dairy industries.


The emergence of H5N1strain avian influenza virus with a Eurasian genome in migratory waterfowl in all four Flyways 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 minimal extent in broilers. The probability of outbreaks of HPAI over succeeding weeks appears likely but will be a function of continuous shedding by migratory and domestic birds and mammals. The extent of protection of commercial flocks at present relies on intensity and efficiency of biosecurity, representing investment in structural improvements and operational procedures. To date 2.9 million broilers on 14 farms and in excess of 9.6 million turkeys on 221 farms have been depleted as a result of HPAI.


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 facilitated export volume for the U.S. broiler industry. Exports of turkey products have been more constrained with plants processing turkeys in Minnesota, the Dakotas, Wisconsin and Iowa impacted. Most nations are now eliminating embargos placed on counties and states as the WOAH (OIE) mandated post-decontamination period expires.


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 © 2023 Simon M. Shane