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USDA Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook


19 January 2012

USDA LDP: US Production Declines Poultry Prices Higher in 2012USDA LDP: US Production Declines Poultry Prices Higher in 2012

Broiler meat production in fourth-quarter 2011 is expected to total 8.93 billion pounds, down 50 million from the previous estimate.
Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook

Summary

Poultry: Broiler meat production in fourth-quarter 2011 is expected to total 8.93 billion pounds, down 50 million from the previous estimate. This adjustment follows year-overyear declines in production in both October and November. The number of chicks being placed for growout has changed considerably over the last several weeks. The number of chicks being placed for growout now shows a decrease from the same period a year earlier only about half what it was in mid-November. December prices for whole hen turkeys averaged $1.07 per pound, up 9 per cent from the previous year. Prices in fourthquarter 2011 averaged $1.12 per pound, 8 per cent higher than during the same period in 2010.

With stock levels at the end of 2011 expected to be relatively low, whole hen turkey prices are expected to remain above year earlier levels through the first half of 2012. Even with table egg production expected higher in fourthquarter 2011, wholesale egg prices have remained strong. Wholesale prices for a dozen grade A large eggs in the New York market averaged $1.31 in fourth-quarter 2011, up 7 per cent from the same period in 2010 and up 11 per cent from third-quarter 2011.

Poultry Trade: November 2011 broiler shipments totaled 606.2 million pounds, 9-per cent less than a year ago. Turkey shipments were up from a year earlier. November turkey shipments totaled 68.6 million pounds, a 6-per cent increase from a year ago.

 

Poultry

Broiler Production Estimate for Fourth-Quarter 2011 Decreased

Broiler meat production in fourth-quarter 2011 is expected to total 8.93 billion pounds, down 50 million pounds from the previous estimate. This adjustment follows production declines in both October and November. A combination of an expected smaller number of broilers being slaughtered and falling average weights is behind the expected decline.

Broiler meat production in November 2011 was 2.9 billion pounds, a decrease of 7.1 per cent from a year earlier. Broiler meat production has decreased on a yearover- year basis in each of the last 3 months. The number of broilers slaughtered in November was down 6.2 per cent from November 2010, and this decrease was compounded by a decline (1 per cent) in the average liveweight for birds at slaughter (to 5.82 pounds). Broiler meat production in December is again expected to show a decrease due to a reduced number of birds slaughtered at a lower average liveweight.

The outlook for broiler meat production in 2012 has changed over the last several months, due to sharp changes in the number of chicks being placed for growout and average broiler weights at slaughter. At the beginning of January, the 5-week moving average (10 December through 7 January) showed that the number of chicks being placed for growout was averaging 3.6 per cent lower than the previous year. The decrease in the number of chicks being placed for growout from the same period a year earlier is now about half what it was in mid-November. A less drastic reduction in the number of chicks points to possibly smaller declines in broiler meat production in the first half of 2012. This could be affected by whether broiler liveweights remain below the previous year, as they did in November, or average higher than the previous year as they did in the first 10 months of 2011.

Broiler meat stocks at the end of November 2011 totaled 627 million pounds, down 40 million pounds from the end of October and 15 per cent lower than at the end of November 2010. Reduced broiler meat production over the second half of 2011 has resulted in generally lower broiler stocks on a year-over-year basis during the last 4 months. A greater decrease in broiler stocks would have been seen except that stocks of whole birds and breast meat have continued to remain above those of the previous year. At the end of November, whole bird stocks totaled 16 million pounds, 14 per cent higher than the previous year, and stocks of breast meat products were 146 million pounds, up 28 per cent from the end of November 2010. Stock levels for all other categories of broiler products were significantly lower than the previous year, with leg quarters, down 47 million pounds or 39 per cent from the previous year, accounting for a major portion of the decrease. Broiler stocks are expected to total 600 million pounds at the end of 2011, down 22 per cent from the previous year and 50 million pounds less than the previous estimate. With continued declines in broiler meat production through the first three quarters of 2012 and expected strong exports, ending stocks in 2012 are again expected to be below a year earlier during the first three quarters of the year.

Falling broiler meat production, decreases in the stock levels for most broiler parts, and strong prices for many beef and pork products have combined to gradually push wholesale prices for broiler products higher. Prices for boneless/skinless breast meat in the Northeast market were lower than the previous year for the first 10 months of 2011. However, these prices were marginally higher in November 2011 than a year earlier. In December prices for boneless/skinless breast meat rose to $1.26 per pound, up 10 per cent from December 2010. The price change for whole birds shows much the same pattern. Prices for whole birds were lower in 10 of the first 11 months of 2011. In December whole bird prices rose by almost 4 cents per pound from November and were 2 per cent higher than a year earlier. Prices for leg quarters in the Northeast market have been relatively strong through most of the year, as a result of large export shipments. Prices averaged $0.52 per pound in December, a small increase from the previous month, but 42 per cent higher than in December 2010. Wing prices have risen strongly since August, gaining over $0.50 per pound. If wing prices follow a normal seasonal pattern, they will peak in January and then start to decline. With lower numbers of broilers expected to be slaughtered, even as wing prices decline seasonally they are likely to remain above year-earlier levels. Prices for other broiler products were also higher in December compared with a year earlier, and most of the gains were significant.

Turkey Prices Higher in Fourth-Quarter 2011

In 2011, prices for whole hen turkeys were consistently higher than the previous year. In fact, on a year-over-year basis, monthly frozen whole hen turkey prices have been higher for the last 25 consecutive months. Both lower stock levels and a strong export market have placed upward pressure on prices. December prices for whole hens averaged $1.07 per pound, down seasonally from November, but 9 cents per pound (9 per cent) higher than the previous year. Prices in fourth-quarter 2011 averaged $1.12 per pound, 8 per cent higher than the previous year, and 5 cents per pound higher than in the third quarter. With relatively low stock levels going into 2012, whole hen prices are expected to remain above year-earlier levels through first-quarter 2012, then fall to slightly lower than the previous year for the rest of 2012.

Turkey production in November was 511 million pounds, down 1.8 per cent from a year earlier. The decrease in production came from a lower number of birds slaughtered and declines in the average weight per bird at slaughter; the number of turkeys slaughtered was down 0.9 per cent from the previous year and the average weight at slaughter fell to just over 28 pounds, a decline of 0.6 per cent. The lower weights at slaughter over the last 2 months have been an abrupt change from earlier in the year. In the first two quarters of 2011, the quarterly average weights were up more than 1 per cent from the previous year and were 2 per cent higher in the third quarter. With the reductions in weights, the estimate for fourth-quarter 2011 turkey meat production was lowered by 10 million pounds to 1.5 billion pounds, up less than 1 per cent from the previous year. The turkey meat production estimate for 2012 is 5.8 billion pounds, up 1 per cent from 2011, with the majority of the growth coming in the second half of the year.

Ending stocks for all turkey products in fourth-quarter 2011 are expected to be 205 million pounds, up about 7 per cent from the very low stock levels for the same period in 2010. At the end of November, cold storage holdings for turkey totaled 193 million pounds, 11 per cent higher than a year earlier. The increase was due to larger cold storage holdings of both whole birds (up 18 per cent) and turkey parts (up 9 per cent). The increase in whole bird stocks was a change from a longstanding pattern. On a year-over-year basis, stocks of whole turkeys have been lower for the last 25 consecutive months. With turkey production expected to be only slightly higher in the first half of 2012 (up less than 1 per cent), turkey cold storage totals are expected to remain very close to those for 2011.

Eggs Prices Higher in Fourth-Quarter 2011

Even with table egg production expected to be above year-earlier levels in fourthquarter 2011, wholesale egg prices have remained strong through the end of the year. Wholesale prices for a dozen grade A large eggs in the New York market averaged $1.31 in fourth-quarter 2011, up 7 per cent from the same period in 2010 and up 11 per cent from third-quarter 2011. During 2011, prices averaged $1.15 per dozen, up 9 cents from 2010, as higher prices, especially in the second and third quarters, offset lower prices in the first quarter of 2011. With table egg production expected to expand in 2012, prices are not expected to be as strong, averaging $1.02 to $1.10 per dozen, about 8 per cent lower than the previous year. This forecast will be dependent on both feed prices and the pace of economic recovery, with faster economic growth placing greater upward pressure on prices, especially in the second half of the year.

Table egg production in November 2011 was 551 million dozen, up 1.2 per cent from the previous year. It has been higher in each of the first three quarters of 2011, and for all of 2011 is estimated at 6.6 billion dozen, which would be a gain of 0.8 per cent. Production in 2012 is expected to increase at more or less the same pace, with yearly production estimated at 6.66 billion dozen, a gain of less than 1 per cent.

With continuing declines in broiler production forecast for the first three quarters of 2012, the estimate for hatching egg production in 2012 is for 1.04 billion dozen, down 1.5 per cent from 2011. Hatching egg production is expected to be lower than the previous year through the first three quarters of 2012, but to show positive growth in the fourth-quarter.

Production of hatching eggs in November 2012 totaled 83 million dozen, down 3.6 per cent from a year earlier. All of the decrease was due to smaller production of broiler-type hatching eggs, as production of egg-type hatching eggs was up 3.1 per cent from the previous year. The estimate for hatching egg production in fourthquarter 2011 is 255 million dozen, down 4 per cent from fourth-quarter 2010. The decline in broiler-type hatching egg production has been somewhat less than the decline in the number of hens in the broiler-type hatching egg flock as the rate of lay per 100 hens has increased from the previous year. The number of hens in the flock totaled 50.1 million during November, down 7 per cent from the previous year.

Total egg exports in November were the shell egg equivalent of 21.5 million dozen, up 12.8 per cent from the previous year. Strong domestic egg prices in the United States resulted in only a small expansion in exports of shell eggs, up 1.5 per cent to 11.2 million dozen, while exports of egg products rose to the equivalent of 10.3 million, with shipments to Japan up 113 per cent and shipments to Hong Kong up 39 per cent.

Poultry Trade

November Broiler Shipments Were Down and Turkey Shipments Up from a Year Ago

November 2011 broiler shipments totaled 606.2 million pounds, 9-per cent less than a year ago. Turkey shipments were up from a year earlier. November turkey shipments totaled 68.6 million pounds, a 6-per cent increase from a year ago.

November Broiler Shipments Fell from a Year Ago

November 2011 broiler shipments totaled more than 606.2 million pounds, a 9- per cent drop from a year earlier. The decline reflects large drops to Russia, Cuba, and Angola, but some major markets including Iraq, China, and South Korea partly offset the decline. When comparing broiler shipments in November 2011 to those shipped in November 2010, shipments to Iraq increased by 300-per cent, while shipments to China and South Korea increased 140-per cent and 81-per cent, respectively, over the same period.

Although November exports were down from a year ago, broiler exports for the quarter are expected to remain relatively strong, one indicator being stable legquarter prices. Over the past 4 months (September-December), the average legquarter price (wholesale price in the Northeast) has ranged from 51.9 cents to 53.1 cents per pound, which likely indicates continued strong export demand. Because broiler exports were strong during October and November, the 2011 four-quarter projection was revised up 50 million pounds, pushing total projected shipments to 1.850 billion pounds.

Turkey Shipments Up Slightly in November from a Year Ago

Turkey shipments totaled 68.6 million pounds in November 2011, a 6-per cent increase from last year. Mexico has been the largest US turkey market for years and continues to account for at least 50-per cent of the US total turkey shipments. Besides Mexico, the increase in November turkey shipments consisted of strong imports from Hong Kong. Hong Kong imported over 6.4 million pounds, which was 9-per cent of US total turkey exports in November 2011. Turkey exports have been up, even as ending stocks have been down and prices of mechanically separated turkey meat, and whole turkey have been up. A possible reason for the increase in turkey shipments, in spite of rising domestic turkey prices, is that turkey products are still relatively cheaper than some of the other sources of animal proteins.

January 2012

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