Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Poultry production estimates decrease for 2022, feed costs a factor

By David B. Strickland Editor Poultry Times Photo: USDA Agricultural Research Service The USDA is decreasing many of its production estimates for 2022 for broilers, eggs, and turkeys with higher feed costs being cited among the reasons.

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WASHINGTON — Broiler chicken production for 2022 has recently been reduced by the USDA’s Economic Research Service, but volume should still be approximately 2 percent more this year than in 2021. Prices are also forecast to increase slightly based on current higher feed costs.

Feed costs are also leading the department to reduce the projected amount of table eggs in all quarters of this year, ERS noted in its recent “Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook” report.

For turkey production, projections have been decreased, but the segment is expected to see a 1 percent increase for 2022.

Detailed focus on the industry segments include:


“Total 2021 production is estimated at 44.89 billion pounds, an increase of less than 1 percent from 2020,” ERS said in its report. “The first quarter (of 2022) production projection was adjusted down by 100 million pounds to 11.15 billion pounds. The outlying quarters of 2022 were adjusted down as higher forecast feed costs temper growth.”

Broiler production for the entirety of 2022 is estimated at 45.49 billion pounds, which is about a 1 percent increase from 2021, the department added.

“Broiler meat in cold storage fell to 704 million pounds at the end of December as production failed to keep pace with demand,” ERS noted. “This is a slight decrease from the end of November and 15 percent less than the end of 2020. Breast meat in particular saw a decline in cold storage stocks at the end of 2021, 104 million pounds lower than the end of 2020. Only chicken wings and leg quarters have seen increases in cold storage levels since the end of 2020, but these parts represent a small share of broiler meat in cold storage.”

USDA is projecting the amount of product in cold storage at the end of 2022 at 755 million pounds, a decreased projection of 30 million pounds.

For chicken parts, the department says that breasts and wings remain the most in demand.

“Breast meat can be found in sandwiches in various fast-food establishments, and chicken wings are popular additions to major sporting events like the Super Bowl and March Madness,” ERS said. “Rising wholesale prices for these parts has coincided with low levels in cold storage. Chicken breast meat in cold storage fell from 239 million pounds at the end of January 2021 to 152.6 million pounds at the end of December, a year-over-year decrease of 41 percent from the end of December 2020.”

For last year, wholesale prices for boneless/skinless chicken breasts were on average 72 percent more than the previous year. The average wholesale price in January 2022 for boneless/skinless breasts was $2.30.98 per pound, which is about $1.22 more than the year before.

Similar price increases are also noted for chicken wings.

“The largest year-over-year increase in wholesale wing prices was in April (2021), coinciding with the largest year-over-year drop in cold storage levels,” ERS noted. “While wing stocks have recovered, the wing prices decreased but they are still well above year-ago levels. In January, wings prices averaged $2.67.93 per pound, an increase of 24 cents year-over-year, but down 49 cents from the 2021 peak.”

For exports, broilers shipped abroad in December were at 618 million pounds, a yearly increase of 1 percent. The total for the year was 7.367 billion pounds, which was very close to the 2020 number. The largest market for broilers was Mexico, which comprises about 21.5 percent of the total, which is up from 20.9 percent in 2020.

“Other markets with increased shares … include Cuba, Angola, Guatemala, the Philippines, Haiti, and Colombia, which together accounted for 27.5 percent of shipments in 2021, up from 18.8 percent in 2020,” ERS said. “The largest individual increase was in shipments to Cuba, which climbed from a 5.1 percent share in 2020 to 9.2 percent of shipments in 2021.

“Canada’s total import level decreased … but it accounted for a similar share of shipments in 2021 (4.3 percent) as it did in 2020 (4.5 percent). China accounted for 9.3 percent of broiler exports in 2020 but only 5.2 percent in 2021. Taiwan’s share also decreased, from 7.2 percent in 2020 to 4.9 percent share in 2021.”

The total amount of broiler exports for this year is being estimated at 7.373 billion pounds by the USDA. This is less than a half-percent from 2021; and is being based on the demand in some markets and decreased production totals being forecast for the year.


“The table egg laying flock in December was 326.9 million hens and the lay rate per 100 layers was 82.7 eggs per day,” the report notes, and ERS adds that this is close to year-ago numbers.

Production of table eggs for December was at 698.3 million eggs, which is also close to the same amount from a year previous. For last year, table egg production is estimated at approximately 8.061 billion dozen, which is 4.2 million dozen more than in 2020.

“Higher feed costs, especially for soybean meal, together with recent production indicators show that producers may be cautious in their expansion plans,” ERS said. “Thus, the 2022 table egg production forecast was revised down for all outlying quarters as follows: first quarter, 10 million dozen; second quarter, 20 million dozen; third and fourth quarters, 5 million dozen each.”

For 2022, table egg production is estimated at 8.145 billion dozen, a 1 percent increase over last year, the USDA reports. For hatching eggs, the amount forecast is 1.285 billion dozen, a 1.5 percent increase from 2021.

For egg exports, December amounts were 30 million dozen eggs and egg products shipped, a decrease of 8 percent from the previous year.

“This decrease was driven by a 13 percent decrease in shell-egg shipments that more than offset a 1 percent increase in egg product shipments,” ERS said.

Last year exports of egg and egg products were 392.3 million dozen, which marked the highest value in six years and 14 percent more than in 2020.

“The top five markets destinations, volume-wise, in 2021, covering about 85 percent of the shipments, were: Mexico, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea,” ERS reports. “The 2022 egg and egg products forecast was reduced to 355 million shell-dozen equivalent, a 9.5 percent year-over-year decrease.”


For the fourth quarter of last year, turkey production reached 1.37 billion pounds. The production for December was down 9 percent, and production for the quarter was noted as down 6 percent from the previous year.

“Projections for first quarter (2022) production was revised down 10 million pounds to 1.38 billion, due to low weekly slaughter in January,” ERS reports. “Winter storms led to slaughter plant closures in early February, another damper on first quarter production. Poult placements were down slightly, and higher feed costs may limit production growth. Thus, production also was revised down for the second, third and fourth quarters of 2022, taking the annual production forecast to 5.62 billion pounds.”

Projected turkey prices are also being raised for 2022, USDA added.

“The frozen whole hen turkey price was raised another cent, to $1.29 per pound for the first quarter of 2022, after strong weekly prices throughout the month of January,” the report says. “Rising feed prices, along with low production, contribute to this increase. Prices also were raised 1 cent for the second, third and fourth quarters of 2022, taking the yearly forecast to $1.26.5 per pound.”

Prices for tom turkey breasts, which is used for processed turkey products, the price at the end of January was $4.35 per pound. This marks a large, 233 percent increase from January 2021 prices, USDA noted.

For turkey exports, they totaled 44 million pounds in December 2021, which is 5.5 percent less than the previous year. For the year, turkey exports totaled 549 million pounds, a 3.9 percent decrease from 2020.

“Mexico was the top destination for U.S. turkey exports in 2021,” ERS reports. “Canada, China, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Benin, and Panama were other top importers.

“The forecast for 2022 (turkey) exports was reduced by 20 million pounds to 545 million pounds on higher prices.”

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