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Meat Exports


U.S. Broiler and Turkey Exports for January 2023.                   



Total exports of bone-in broiler parts and feet during January 2023 attained 313,629 metric tons, 9.8 percent more than in January 2022 (285,591 metric tons). Total value of broiler exports declined by 0.3 percent to $374.6 million ($375.6 million).


Total export volume of turkey products during January 2023 attained 12,098 metric tons, 26.6 percent less than in January 2022 (16,471 metric tons Jan. 2021). Total value of turkey exports declined by 27.6 percent to $42 million (55 million Jan. 2021).


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 to date, unit value of leg quarters increased consistent with international demand but with a decline in January 2023 compared to the previous month. 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.


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 2033.





During January 2023 the National Chicken Council (NCC), citing USDA-FAS data, documented exports of 315,435 metric tons of chicken parts and other forms (whole and prepared) valued at $5,381 million with a weighted average unit value of $1,208 per metric ton,.

The NCC breakdown of chicken exports for January 2023 by proportion and unit price for each category compared with the corresponding month in 2022 (with the unit price in parentheses) comprised:-


  • Chicken parts                          97.7%; Unit value  $1,149 per metric ton  ($1,279)
  • Prepared chicken                      1.8%; Unit value  $4,183 per metric ton  ($3,528)
  • Whole chicken                          0.5%; Unit value  $1,621 per metric ton  ($965) 


The following table prepared from USDA data circulated by the USAPEEC, compares values for poultry meat exports in January 2023 compared to January 2022:-



     January 2022


        January 2023



Broiler Meat & Feet




Volume (metric tons)



+28,038     (+9.8%)

Value ($ millions)



          -1     (-0.3%)

Unit value ($/m. ton)



      -121     (-9.2%)

Turkey Meat




Volume (metric tons)



   -4,373     (-26.6%)

Value ($ millions)



        -16     (-27.6%)

Unit value ($/m. ton)



        -49     (-1.4%)







Total broiler parts, predominantly leg quarters but including feet, exported during January 2023 as compared with January 2022 increased by 9.8 percent in volume but declined 0.3 percent in value. Unit value was 9.2 percent lower at $1,196 per metric ton.


Broiler imports in 2022 were projected to attain 80,200 metric tons (176 million lbs.) falling to 72,000 metric tons (160 million lbs.) in 2023.

The top five importers of broiler meat represented 52.9 percent of shipments during January 2023. The top ten importers comprised 68.5 percent of the total volume reflecting concentration among the significant importing nations.


During January 2023 exports of all broiler products to first-ranked (by value) China were 21.2 percent lower by volume to 40,427 metric tons and 30.7 percent lower by value at $66 million compared to January 2022. Volume and value of exports to China represented 12.9 percent and 17.5 percent respectively with an average unit price of $1,620 per metric ton. The average unit price for all exports to China in 2022 was $1,747 per ton compared with $1,376 per ton for all exports, but excluding China, $1,397 per ton, demonstrating the weighting of feet on export value.


According to USDA statistics during 2022 feet accounted for 77.7 percent of volume at 483,538 metric tons, valued at $931 million with a unit price of $1,925 per metric ton. Other broiler products exported to China during 2022 included legs and leg quarters at 17.0 percent of volume with a unit price of $901 per ton. Due to HPAI restrictions monthly volumes of feet have declined by double digits on a Y-O-Y comparison. The USAPEEC note that 37 states with 444 of 577 approved plants and cold storage installations are ineligible to export to China. Other products shipped to China including wings and edible giblets comprising 5.3 percent of volume and 5.5 percent of value at a unit price of $2,862 per metric ton.


During January 2023 Mexico was the first-ranked importer by volume with 63,125 metric tons representing 20.1 percent of export volume down 22.0 percent from January 2022. Value at $60 million was 16.0 percent of the total for exported broiler products during January 2023 and down 1.6 percent from January 2022, with an 18.9 percent decline in unit price to $947 per metric ton. 


During January 2023 nations gaining in volume compared to the corresponding period in 2022 (with the percentage change indicated) in descending order of volume were:-


Mexico, (+22%); Cuba, (+54%); Angola. (+9%); Guatemala, (+7); Canada, (+10%); Haiti, (+36%); Congo-Brazzaville, (+49%); Iraq, (+337%) and Viet Nam, (+7%);


Losses during January 2023 offset gains in exports with declines for:-

China, (-21%); Taiwan, (-9%); and Philippines, (-24%).




The volume of turkey meat exported during January 2023 decreased by 26.6 percent to 12,098 metric tons from January 2022 and value fell by 27.6 percent to $42 million compared to January 2022 Average unit value declined by 1.4 percent from $3,521 per metric ton to $3,472 per metric ton. Imports of turkey products are projected to rise to 38,640 metric tons in 2023.



For the entire year of 2022 export volume declined by 25.6 percent to 184,537 metric tons compared to 2021 and value fell by 3.6 percent to $642 million reflecting a 1.4 percent decrease in unit value to $3,473 per metric ton.


During January 2023 only Canada gained in volume posting a seven percent increase over January 2022. Volume to Mexico declined by 23 percent; to Benin (effectively Nigeria) by 46 percent, China by 33 percent and Guatemala by 24 percent.





The March 14th 2023 Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook Report, updated 2023 exports of broiler products to 3.325 million metric tons (7,315 million lbs.). This value represents 15.6 percent of the projected production of 21.277 million metric tons (46,750 million lb.) of broiler RTC by the U.S. industry.


Projected export of turkey products in 2023 will be 163,600 metric tons, (360,000 million lbs.) or 6.4 percent of annual production of 2.539 million metric tons (5,585 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 and $1,647 million during 2022. 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 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 3.2 million broilers on 18 farms in 7 states and in excess of 9.8 million turkeys on 231 farms in 7 states 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 supported 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 lifting embargos that were previously placed on entire states or counties 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