WASHINGTON — Turkey production for the remainder of 2022 and into 2023 has been lowered in estimates stemming from new outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza, the USDA Economic Research Service notes in its recent “Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook” report.
Turkey production in August reached 448.98 million pounds, which was the largest month this year since March, ERS noted, adding that third quarter projections have been adjusted higher to 1.265 billion pounds, which remains 10 percent less than the same time in 2021.
ERS adds that production estimates are being affected by the return of this year’s HPAI outbreaks, which has resulted in 5.4 million turkeys being depopulated as a result of exposure. The department also notes that this adds up to be approximately 2.5 percent of the number of turkeys that were slaughtered commercially for meat last year.
“The total number of meat-producing turkeys lost this year reached 7.15 million as of Oct. 7,” the report said. “Between Aug. 26 and Oct. 7, 1.79 million turkeys were lost to a second wave of HPAI, primarily in Minnesota, California and Utah. While the recent confirmations largely fell in September, production losses are expected to be manifested primarily in the fourth quarter.”
The department notes that fourth quarter production has been reduced by 25 million pounds to 1.290 billion pounds.
“Combined with the third quarter change, this brings the 2022 total forecast to 5.204 billion pounds, a decrease of 6 percent from 2021,” ERS said. “The first and second quarters of 2023 were also decreased by 10 million pounds each to 1.365 billion and 1.400 billion pounds, respectively, bringing the 2023 forecast to 5.610 billion pounds. This is an increase of 8 percent over the 2022 forecast but only 1 percent over 2021.”
For turkey meat in cold storage, ERS reports the total at 431.7 million pounds for the end of August, which marks a peak for 2022 and is a bit more than the same time in 2021.
“Cold stocks of whole hens, the birds typically served for holiday dinners, at the end of August were 12.2 percent ahead of the same time last year at 113.8 million pounds,” the report said. “While production has been well below typical levels this year as a result of HPAI, the storage data suggest that producers have prioritized building up supplies of whole hens in time for Thanksgiving.”
In regards to recent turkey exports, they totaled 31.32 million pounds in August, which is a reduction of 13.7 million pounds from the same time last year. Mexico receives approximately 73 percent of U.S. turkey exports, but exported about 6.6 million pounds less than 2021. The shipments to the rest of the world were 7.1 million pounds less compared to August last year.
“Reflecting changes in production expectations for the end of 2022, the 2022 export forecast is decreased slightly to 404 million pounds,” ERS said. “This would represent almost 8 percent of production, down from a 10 percent share in 2021. Exports for 2023 were adjusted up slightly to 415 million pounds, just over 7 percent of forecast 2023 production.”
Minnesota continues to be the top turkey producing state in the U.S.
The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service notes in its recent “Turkeys Raised” report that the top six turkey producing states make up approximately 68 percent of the turkey produced in the country.
According to NASS, the top six states and their production numbers include:
- Minnesota, 37.5 million turkeys, down 7 percent from 2021.
- North Carolina, 28 million turkeys, down 7 percent from 2021.
- Arkansas, 27 million turkeys, unchanged from 2021.
- Indiana, 20.5 million turkeys, unchanged from 2021.
- Missouri, 17.5 million turkeys, up 3 percent from 2021.
- Virginia, 14.6 million turkeys, up 1 percent from 2021.