Delaware Chicken Production Rises But Margins Take a Hit

US - Delaware’s broiler chicken output grew slightly in 2013 and while total production values jumped 23.3 per cent, high grain and energy prices blunted returns to those on the front line of the region’s dominant farm sector.
calendar icon 1 May 2014
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State growers produced 215.6 million birds for the calendar year, about 1.6 per cent more than the 212 million mark set in 2012, according to National Agricultural Statistics Service data, reports Delmarva Now.

The value of that production rose from $752.6 million to $927.7 million.

Maryland, where production has been slightly stronger than Delaware’s over the past few years, was up by 1.2 million birds, to 305.2 million. Maryland’s output was valued at $980.6 million, with Delaware’s higher share of larger and heavier “roaster” birds accounting for much of the narrower value gap between the two states.

Delmarva Poultry Industry Director, Bill Satterfield, said that production on the entire Delmarva Peninsula was up by a smaller margin over the same period, reaching 565 million compared with 558 million in 2012. Gains could continue if beef and pork prices push higher.

“As competing protein prices go up, it makes chicken more attractive, and that’s a good thing from our perspective,” Satterfield said.

Delaware Agriculture Secretary Ed Kee said that poultry companies all are reporting an increase in demand, adding: “We certainly hope that this trend will continue.

“Higher demand generates more jobs in processing to handle the increased workflow. It helps keep farm revenues stable, with more placements of flocks and less time between flocks when poultry houses sit empty.

“We are also seeing some new construction of poultry houses to replace older houses and accommodate some expansion, which has a spillover effect into jobs in the construction industry,” Mr Kee added.

Michael Priestley

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