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Email Content: Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

Weekly Turkey Production and Prices


Poult Production and Placement:

The May 15th edition of the USDA Turkey Hatchery Report, issued monthly, documented 28.2 million eggs in incubators on May 1st 2018 (28.8 million eggs on April 1st 2019) down 2.5 percent (0.7 million eggs) from April 1 st 2018.

A total of 23.9 million poults were hatched during April 2019 (24.0 million in March 2019) and up 1.7 percent from April 2018.

A total of 22.0 million poults were placed on farms in the U.S. in April 2019, (21.7 million in March 2019), 1.1 percent less than in April 2018. This suggests disposal of 1.8 million poults during the month. Assuming all tom poults were placed, 14.9 percent of hen poults or 7.4 percent of all April 2019-hatched poults were not placed.

For the twelve-month period May 2018 through April 2019 inclusive, 289.0 million poults were hatched and 262.3 million were placed. This suggests disposal of 26.7 million poults. Assuming all tom poults were placed 18.2 percent of hen poults or 9.1 percent of all poults hatched during the period were not placed.

Turkey Production:

The June 7th 2019 edition of the USDA Turkey Market News Report (Vol. 66: No. 23) confirmed the following provisional data for turkeys slaughtered under Federal inspection:-

  • For the short processing week ending June 1st 2019, 1.361 million young hens were slaughtered at a live weight of 16.9 lbs. (last week 17.1 lbs.). During the corresponding processing week in 2018, 1.439 million hens were processed. Ready-to-cook (RTC) hen weight for the week attained 19.5 million lbs. (8,880 metric tons), 0.2 percent more than the corresponding processing week of 2018. Dressing percentage was a nominal 80.5. For 2019 to date RTC hen production attained 493.8 million lbs. (224,480 metric tons), 3.2 percent more than during the corresponding period in 2018


  • For the short processing week ending June 1st 2018, 1.964 million toms were slaughtered at 43.8 lbs. compared to 2.439 million toms processed during the previous week at 41.8 lbs. For the corresponding week in 2018, 1.766 million toms were processed. Ready-to-cook tom weight for the week attained 69.2 million lbs. (31,470 metric tons), 15.0 percent more than the corresponding processing week in 2018. Dressing percentage was a nominal 80.5 percent. For 2019 YTD, RTC tom product attained 1.81 million lbs. (821,567 metric tons), 0.7 percent more than for the corresponding weeks of 2018

  • The National average frozen hen price during the past week was 88.0 cents per lb., 2 cents per lb. above the previous week and 13 cents per lb. lower than the three-year average. The following prices rounded to nearest cent were documented for domestic and export trading on June 7th 2019:-



cents per lb.

Change from previous Week (%)

Frozen hens



Frozen toms



Fresh hens



Fresh toms



Breasts 4.0-6.5 lb.



Breasts (B/S) tom


No new quotation

Drums (toms for export)


No new quotation

Wings (V-cut tom)



Wings (V-cut hens)



Thigh Meat (frozen for export)



Mechanically Separated (export)


No new quotation


On June 3rd 2019 cold storage holdings at selected centers amounted to 102,546 lbs. unchanged from the inventory of 102,546 lbs. on June 1st 2019.

The May 22nd 2019 edition of the USDA Cold Storage Report now issued monthly, documented a total turkey stock of 471.2 million lbs. (214,197 metric tons) on April 30th 2019, approximately equivalent to five weeks production and down 4.6 percent compared to April 30th 2018 inventory. The April 30 th 2019 value was 1.8 percent above the March 1st 2019 level due to decreased seasonal sales relative to production.

The Whole Turkey category representing 48.7 percent of total storage of 471.2 million lbs. on April 30th 2019, compared to 50.3 percent of inventory on April 30th 2018. Tom carcasses in storage decreased by 10.1 percent from April 30th 2018 to 112.8 million lbs. on April 30th 2019. Hen carcasses in storage decreased by 5.3 percent from April 30th 2018 to 116.9 million lbs. on April 30th 2019.

The "Other" and "Unclassified" categories collectively amounted to 113.2 million lbs. or 24.0 percent of inventory on April 30th 2019, 8.7 percent below April 30th 2018. The magnitude of these two non-specified categories suggests that the USDA should attempt to classify product more accurately as to specific product.


Please review comments on prospects for exports as outlined in the weekly Broiler Report and the year-to-date export data under the STATISTICS tab. infection. In early February 2019 a sporadic case of H5 LPAI was diagnosed in a turkey flock (age and type not specified) in Chippawa County, MN. This flock was depleted without lateral transmission and restrictions on Minnesota have expired.

APHIS has recorded 445 cases of velogenic viscerotropic Newcastle disease (vvND) in backyard flocks (predominantly "fighting cocks") in the Counties of San Bernardino (141), Riverside (259), Los Angeles (44), Alameda (1) and Ventura (1) from late-May 2018 to June 7th 2019. A single case of ND was diagnosed in a backyard flock (type and size not specified by CDFA near Redwood City in Alameda County during the week of March 11 th 2019.There has been no extension from this location.

The successive monthly incidence rate of ND declined in November but a surge in cases in Riverside County occurred in mid-December. Presumed extension from cases of vvND was confirmed in a flock of 103,000 replacement pullets aged six weeks near Perris, CA. on December 14 th resulting in rapid depletion and disposal. This outbreak was followed by three spatially and temporally related egg production farms with a combined population of approximately 250,00 hens. The infection was diagnosed in a flock of fighting cocks in Utah County UT on January 18 th and Coconino County, AZ (near Flagstaff) in early April, presumably due to illegal movement of birds from Southern California. It is understood that the USDA is making available $45 million for eradication. These events should not impede exports based on the acceptance of the OIE principle of regionalization by Mexico and other major importing nations.

The Administration concluded a last-minute modification to NAFTA to create the trilateral USMCA on the last day of September 2018 and the draft document was signed on November 30th. The Agreement must however be ratified by the legislatures of all three signatories. This process may have been placed in jeopardy by the May 30th threat on new tariffs on exports from Mexico. The U.S. turkey industry shipped 173,544 metric tons or 62.6 percent of all turkey exports to Mexico, valued at $389 million during 2018.

Copyright 2019 Simon M. Shane