CME: Poultry Production Running Above Year Ago Levels

US - Combined beef, pork and poultry production has been running above year ago levels for much of the year and last week was no different, write Steve Meyer and Len Steiner.
calendar icon 16 February 2016
clock icon 4 minute read

USDA reports the weekly production numbers for chicken and turkey with a one week lag so the total supply number at the top of the table is not precisely the total volume of red meat and poultry for the week. But we can make some reasonable estimates that can get us close.

Total beef and pork production for the week was 452 million pounds and 487.1 million pounds, respectively.

This was reported by USDA in their weekly supply recap and implies that beef supplies were up 3.5 per cent from a year ago while pork supplies were up 1.7 per cent.

The net increase in red meat output was 23.4 million pounds (carcass wt. basis).

Broiler slaughter for week ending February 6 was 158.426 million head). But USDA also tells us (in a difference report) that broiler slaughter for week ending 2/13 is estimated at 161.767 million, up 3.2 per cent from the same week a year ago. We do not know broiler weights for last week but for the last four weeks broiler live weights have averaged about 6.18 pounds per bird.

Using the USDA dressing percentage of 76 per cent we can calculate broiler production (ready to cook basis) at 759.942 million pounds (notice how much bigger than either beef or pork).

The combination of heavier broiler weights and larger slaughter means that broiler production last week was (roughly) 5.7 per cent higher than the same week a year ago.

For the last six reported week, broiler production is 2.5 per cent higher than a year ago. The increase in broiler supplies adds another 41.3 million pounds to the net increase in meat supplies from a year ago. Turkey production is a relatively small part of overall red meat and poultry production.

For week ending February 6 total turkey production was 102.7 million pounds and we estimate production for week ending February 13 at 103.4 million, which adds less than half a million pounds to the overall year/year increase in meat supplies.

Putting this all together would imply that for the week red meat and poultry production was 1.802 billion pounds, 3.8 per cent higher than the same week last year. In the last six weeks, however, meat supplies have average 2.2 per cent above year ago levels.

While meat supplies are increasing, the rate of the increase has been slower than the same period last year. Looking back at February 2015, combined red meat and poultry supplies were increasing at well over 4 per cent y/y.

In the short term, the increase in meat supplies will continue to cap price inflation in the meat complex. This is particularly the case in the short term as foodservice demand tends to be seasonally weak and the start of Lent limits retail features. But the slower growth in supplies, stronger exports and still robust consumer demand could set the stage for a more robust meat market in Q2.

Further Reading

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