Wednesday, October 4, 2023

ERS: broiler, turkey and egg production numbers forecast for year-end

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By David B. Strickland

Poultry Times editor

WASHINGTON — In the third quarter of this year average weights for broilers and turkeys were noted as heavier than for the same time last year, the USDA Economic Research Service said in its November “Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook” report.

It was added that the production of broilers was 0.4 percent less, with a 1.1 percent increase in weights; and for turkeys, the weight increases left turkey production to remain almost unchanged. Table egg production is also forecast at unchanged.


“September broiler production once again came in higher than expected, estimated at 3.88 billion pounds, a year-over-year increase of 5.4 percent, or 0.3 percent when adjusted for slaughter days,” the report said. “This increase was supported by a 2 percent year-over-year increase in average bird weights to 6.5 pounds, while slaughter-day-adjusted processing volumes decreased by -1.8 percent year-over-year.”

Fourth quarter production, based on a higher than anticipated October numbers was increased to 11.175 billion pounds, ERS said.

“Production in 2020 is forecast to total 44.709 billion pounds, an increase of 1.8 percent year-over-year,” the report added. “The 2021 production forecast was increased to 45.1 (billion) pounds to reflect the increase to the 2020 production forecast, but at a slightly slower rate of growth given higher expected feed prices.

September broiler exports were 618 million pounds, which was 52 million pounds more, or an increase of approximately 9.3 percent, the report said.

“This increase was driven primarily by higher shipments to China (plus 72 million pounds) and Mexico (plus 20 million pounds),” ERS noted. “Broiler shipments to China increased month-over-month in August and September, and China is expected to remain an important market for U.S. broiler exports for the remainder of 2020 and into 2021.

“In addition, sales to Mexico appear to be rebounding after having fallen below year-earlier levels between the months of April and August. Based on expectations for continued strength in key export markets, the fourth quarter export forecast was increased to 1.89 (billion) pounds.”

For the year, exports are estimated at 7.3 billion pounds, or 3 percent more than last year, ERS said.

“In 2021, despite expectations for a relatively weak global economy, broiler meat is anticipated to remain attractive as an affordable protein,” the report noted. “The 2021 export forecast was increased to 7.27 (billion) pounds, a slight decrease from the 2020 export forecast.”

For broiler prices, October wholesale prices were a bit more than forecast, with an average of 67.7 cents per pound, but this was also 14.2 percent less than last year, ERS added.

“Despite being below year-earlier levels, wholesale prices have moved consistent with seasonal trends since late summer,” the report said. “In October, the benchmark broiler price saw a larger-than-expected uptick but has resumed its gradual increase in alignment with seasonal patterns. The fourth quarter price forecast was increased to 70 cents per pound. In 2020, wholesale broiler prices are forecast to average 71.8 cents per pound, 18.9 percent below the 2019 average price.”


September turkey production was reported at 473.8 million pounds, which is 13 million more than a year ago, with production for the third quarter totaling 1.454 billion pounds, ERS said.

“Expectations that people will gather in smaller groups for the holidays this year is resulting in increased demand for smaller turkeys for Thanksgiving tables,” the report noted. “With the exception of the week ending Oct. 10, average slaughter weights for hens in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving 2020 have been lower than in the same week a year ago.

“Based on these lower weights, the fourth quarter production forecast was revised down by 5 million pounds to 1.445 billion pounds. The 2021 forecast is unchanged at 5.77 billion pounds. This would be a 1 percent increase over 2020.”

Turkey exports in September were 47.7 million pounds, 8 percent less than last year but just a bit lower than August, ERS said.

“Third quarter exports totaled 142.9 million pounds,” the report added. “Of the September total, 60 percent (28.7 million pounds) was shipped to Mexico and 9 percent (4.3 million pounds) was shipped to China,” the report said. “The next largest exports markets in September were Panama (1.2 million pounds), Jamaica (1.1 million pounds), Haiti (1.1 million pounds), Benin (0.9 million pounds), Guatemala (0.8 million pounds), and Canada (0.8 million pounds).

“Fourth quarter exports were revised up to 150 million pounds, making the 2020 total turkey export forecast 558 million pounds. This is a 13 percent decrease from total exports in 2019. The total export forecast for 2021 remains unchanged at 570 million pounds, representing 2 percent growth over the 2020 forecast.”

For the third quarter, turkey imports were 6.2 million pounds, of which 2.3 million pounds were in September, the agency added. The forecast for fourth quarter turkey imports was increased to 6 million bringing the total for the year to 21 million pounds. Looking ahead the department is anticipated turkey imports in 2021 to be at 21 million pounds.

For prices in October, whole hen frozen turkey was at $1.15.7 per pound, which is 19 cents more than last year, the report said.

“The weekly price was $1.15 per pound in the week ending Nov. 6,” ERS added. “Oct. 2 price of $1.19 per pound is still the highest weekly price of the year. The fourth quarter forecast was adjusted up by 1 cent to $1.13 per pound.

“The 2021 forecast is unchanged with an annual average of $1.06 per pound.”


The ERS also noted all the impacts to the egg industry this past spring.

“In March and April, the egg industry was caught-off guard when a perfect storm of Easter demand and COVID-19 related retail surges caused inventory levels to plummet and wholesale egg prices to reach record highs,” the report said. “Despite what is likely to be an uncertain holiday season this year, producers have built large shell egg inventories, which have averaged more than 910 thousand 30-dozen cases in recent weeks — about 23 to 32 percent higher year-over-year.”

Holiday baking needs seasonally increase retail demand for eggs in November, but the demand this year may be different than previous years, the report added. This may be affected by smaller holiday gatherings as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Thus far, wholesale prices have remained steady at $1.16 per dozen in November, when they typically increase,” ERS said. “As indicated by national retail egg purchase data, retail demand is elevated relative to last year and historical levels. Despite this increased retail activity, it appears that abundant inventory levels have likely outpaced demand.

“Egg prices are expected to increase, but how much will likely depend on the extent that retail demand increased.”

Production of table eggs in September is forecast at 651 million dozen, which is 3.1 percent less than last year, ERS said.

“Consistent with seasonal patterns, the table egg layer flock expanded relative to August, reaching 319.6 million layers, but is still 4.2 percent lower than last year’s flock — due in large part to weak demand for breaking eggs from foodservice,” the report noted. “The September average lay rate (81.5 eggs per 100 layers per day) increased by 1.1 percent over 2019. The table egg production forecast for the fourth quarter is unchanged.”

For egg exports, the September total for egg and egg products exports was 29.4 million dozen, this is more than last year by more than 1,000 dozen, ERS said.

“Shipments of both shell eggs and egg products increased year-over-year by 4.8 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively,” the report noted. “Among the major U.S. egg export markets, Canada increased shipments by 1,401 thousand dozen (18.3 percent), driven by higher egg-product sales,” ERS said. “In addition, volumes increased to Hong Kong (plus 290,000 dozen) and Trinidad and Tobago (plus 249,000 dozen). Conversely, shipments decreased to Japan (minus 800,000 dozen), South Korea (minus 428,000 dozen), the United Arab Emirates (minus 334,000 dozen), and Mexico (minus 179,000 dozen). The export forecast is unchanged.”

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