Poultry Industry News, Comments & More

Broiler Month, February 2023


Monthly Broiler Production and Prices, February 24th 2023.


Chick Placements.

According to the February 14th USDA Broiler Hatchery Reports 959.24 million eggs were set over four weeks extending from January 21st 2022 through February 11th 2023.


Total placements for the U.S. over the four-week period amounted to 744.04 million chicks. Claimed hatchability for the period averaged 79.8 percent for eggs set three weeks earlier (80.1 percent for the preceding four-week period). Each 1.0 percent change in hatchability represents 1.84 million chicks placed per week with the current range of weekly settings.


Cumulative chick placements for the period January 7th 2023 through February 11th amounted to 1.12 billion chicks, approximately one percent higher than the corresponding period in 2022.


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 February 24th USDA Broiler Market News Report for the processing week ending February 18th 2023, 167.4 million broilers were processed at 6.36 lbs. live. This was 4.6 percent more than the 160.1 million broilers processed during the corresponding week in the previous month of January 2023 and 0.8 percent more than the 166.0 million processed during the corresponding week in January 2022. Broilers processed in 2023 to date amounted to 1.16 billion, 1.4 percent more than for the corresponding period in 2022.

Ready to cook (RTC) weight for the most recent week was 809.0 million lbs. (367,747 metric tons). This was 4.7 percent more than the 772.5 million lbs. processed during the corresponding week in January 2023 and 0.6 percent less than the 813.8 million lbs. during the corresponding week in February 2022. Dressing percentage was a nominal 76.0 percent. For 2023 to date RTC broiler production attained 5,645 million lbs. (2.57 million metric tons). This quantity is 1.5 percent more than the corresponding period in 2022.


Broiler Prices

The USDA National Composite Weighted Wholesale price on February 24th 2023 was up 0.9 cents per lb. or 0.7 percent compared to January 21st 2023 at 121.9 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 February 24th




 January 21st













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 February 24th and YTD 2023 were:-

Live Weight Range (lbs.)





Proportion past week (%)





Change from 2020 YTD (%)






During the week ending February 18th 2023 broilers for QSR and food service (live, 3.6 lb. to 4.3 lb.) represented 15 percent of processed volume compared to14 percent during the corresponding week in January 2023.


On February 24th 2023 cold storage holdings of processed poultry other than chicken at selected centers amounted to 72,466 lbs. 0.6 percent less than the inventory of 72,890 lbs. on February 1st 2023.


According to the February 24th 2022 USDA Cold Storage Report, issued monthly, stocks as of January 31st 2023 compared to January 31st 2022 showed differences with respect to the following categories:-


  • Total Chicken category attained 866.1 million lbs. (393,687 metric tons) corresponding to approximately 1.1 weeks production based on January 2023 weekly RTC output. The January 31st 2023 inventory was up 12.3 percent compared to 771.3 million lbs. (350,593 metric tons) on January 31st 2022
  • LegQuarters were down by 20.1 percent to 71.1 million lbs. compared to January 31st 2022 consistent with the data on exports. Inventory was down a noteworthy 23.9 percent from December 31st Given the trend in inventory of leg quarters it is evident that this category continues to be shipped in varying quantities as the principal (97 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 47.8 percent from January 31st 2022 to 241.6 million lbs. indicating a reduced level of domestic consumer demand from retail influenced by inflation. January 31st 2022 stocks were 3.4 percent lower than on December 31st 2022 suggesting a restoration retail and food service demand including promotion of chicken sandwiches by QSRs.
  • Wings showed a 13.1 percent decrease from January 31st 2022, contributing to a stock of 65.7 million lbs. This category was 20.1 percent lower than on December 31st The decrease in stock is attributed to an increase in seasonal sales associated with Super Bowl consumption. Fluctuation in stock during 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 earlier in 2022 hence the progressive reduction in unit price from mid-year through December.
  • Paws and Feet inventory was 6.1 percent lower on January 31st 2022 to 35.1 million lbs. compared to January 31st 2022 but inventory was 2.4 percent higher than December 31st Prior to the April 2020 Phase 1 Trade Agreement 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 2022, a total of 483,538 metric tons of paws and feet representing 77.7 percent of broiler exports to China were valued at $931 million with a unit price of $1,925 per metric ton.
  • It is noted that the Other category comprising 356.3 million lbs. was up 12.6 percent from January 31st 2022 but represented a significant 41.1 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.


January 2023 Production

The USDA Poultry Slaughter Report released on February 22nd covering January 2023 comprised 21 working week days. The following values were documented for the month:-


  • A total of 801.7 million broilers were processed, up 6.1 percent from January 2022;
  • Total live weight was 5,248 million lbs., up 7.2 percent from January 2022;
  • Unit live weight was 6.55 lbs., up 1.2 percent from January 2022.
  • RTC attained 3,963 million lbs., up 7.4 percent from January 2022.
  • WOG yield was 75.5 percent compared to 75.4 percent in January 2022.
  • The proportion marketed as chilled in January 2023 comprised 93.8 percent of RTC output.
  • Ante-mortem condemnation as a proportion of live weight attained 0.21 percent during January 2023 compared to 0.22 percent in January 2022.
  • Post-mortem condemnations as a proportion of processed mass corresponded to 0.52 percent during January 2023 compared to 0.52 percent in January 2022.



For 2022 exports of broiler parts and feet combined attained a volume of 3,792,380 metric tons (3,624,657 metric tons in 2021) with a value of $5,218 million ($4,460 million in 2021). Unit value increased 11.9 percent from 2021 to $1,376 per metric ton (including feet) from $1,230.


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 and some other nations is more predictable with bans on a statewide basis. as of the present only county-wide bans have been imposed. The response by China to outbreaks is influenced more by self-interest than considerations of scientific fact or international trade obligations. Other importing nations have confined restrictions to counties following the WOAH principle of regionalization.


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 2022 broiler export value attained $1,256 million.


For 2023, USDA projects RTC broiler production to be 46,700 million lbs. with a per capita consumption of 100.2 lbs. Exports amounting to 7,315 million lbs. will represent 15.6 percent of production.


Effective mid-February 2023 total losses due to HPAI amounted to 3.3 million broilers on 18 farms in seven states. A total of 330,000 broiler breeders were depopulated on eleven farms in six states.

Copyright © 2024 Simon M. Shane