Poultry Industry News, Comments & More

Turkey Week


Weekly Turkey Production and Prices

Poult Production and Placement:

The August 14th edition of the USDA Turkey Hatchery Report, issued monthly, documented 29.1 million eggs in incubators on August 1st 2018 (29.0 million eggs on July 1st 2019) and up 0.2 percent (71,000 eggs) from August 1 st 2018.

A total of 25.2 million poults were hatched during July 2019 (22.8 million in June 2019) representing a decrease of 1.9 percent from July 2018.

A total of 21.3 million poults were placed on farms in the U.S. in July 2019, (21.3 million in June 2019), amounting to 5.2 percent less than in July 2018. This suggests disposal of 0.9 million poults during the month. Assuming all tom poults were placed, 7.1 percent of July-hatched hen poults or 3.6 percent of all July-hatched poults in 2019 were not placed.

For the twelve-month period August 2018 through July 2019 inclusive, 288.8 million poults were hatched and 259.9 million were placed. This suggests disposal of 29.1 million poults. Assuming all tom poults were placed 20.1 percent of hen poults or 10.0 percent of all poults hatched during the period were not placed.

Turkey Production:

The September 6th 2019 edition of the USDA Turkey Market News Report (Vol. 66: No. 36) confirmed the following provisional data for turkeys slaughtered under Federal inspection:-

  • For the processing week ending August 31st 2019, 1.744 million young hens were slaughtered at a live weight of 16.5 lbs. (last week 17.6 lbs.). During the corresponding processing week in 2018, 1.715 million hens were processed. Ready-to-cook (RTC) hen weight for the week attained 23.2 million lbs. (10,542 metric tons), 1.1 percent less than the corresponding processing week of 2018. Dressing percentage was a nominal 80.5. For 2019 to date RTC hen production attained 807.5 million lbs. (367,045 metric tons), 2.3 percent more than during the corresponding period in 2018


  • For the processing week ending August 31st 2018, 2.402 million toms were slaughtered at 41.3 lbs. compared to 2.474 million toms processed during the previous week at 41.3 lbs. For the corresponding week in 2018, 2.436 million toms were processed. Ready-to-cook tom weight for the week attained 81.6 million lbs. (37,099 metric tons), 0.7 percent more than the corresponding processing week in 2018. Dressing percentage was a nominal 80.5 percent. For 2019 YTD, RTC tom product attained 2.87 million lbs. (1,303,705 metric tons), 1.1 percent more than for the corresponding weeks of 2018

  • The National average frozen hen price during the past week was 91.4 cents per lb., down 2.4 cents per lb. from the previous week and 10 cents per lb. lower than the three-year average. The following prices rounded to nearest cent were documented for domestic and export trading on September 6th 2019:-



cents per lb.

Change from previous Week (%)

Frozen hens



Frozen toms



Fresh hens



Fresh toms



Breasts 4.0-6.5 lb.


No new quotation

Breasts (B/S) tom


No new quotation

Drums (toms for export)


No new quotation

Wings (V-cut tom)


No new quotation

Wings (V-cut hens)


No new quotation

Thigh Meat (frozen for export)



Mechanically Separated (export)


No new quotation


On September 2nd 2019 cold storage holdings at selected centers amounted to 121,826 lbs., 2.2 percent higher than the inventory of 119,153 lbs. on August 1st 2019.

The August 22nd 2019 edition of the USDA Cold Storage Report issued monthly, documented a total turkey stock of 557.1 million lbs. (253,190 metric tons) on July 31st 2019, approximately equivalent to five weeks production and down 6.3 percent compared to July 31st 2018 inventory. The July 31 st 2019 value was 3.4 percent above the June 30th 2019 level due to decreased sales relative to production.

The Whole Turkey category representing 55.7 percent of total storage of 557.1 million lbs. on July 31st 2019, compared to 55.4 percent of inventory on July 31st 2018. Tom carcasses in storage decreased by 11.7 percent from July 31st 2018 to 160.3 million lbs. on July 31st 2019. Hen carcasses in storage increased by 1.2 percent from July 31st 2018 to 149.7 million lbs. on July 31 st 2019.

The "Other" and "Unclassified" categories collectively amounted to 127.9 million lbs. or 22.9 percent of inventory on July 31st 2019. 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 in this edition and the year-to-date export data under the STATISTICS tab.

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.

The Newcastle disease outbreak in Southern California appears close to an end with one new case on August 14th and a second case on August 31st but with no incident cases diagnosed for the previous eight weeks. APHIS recorded 450 cases of velogenic viscerotropic Newcastle disease (vvND) in backyard flocks (predominantly "fighting cocks") in the Counties of San Bernardino (142), Riverside (260), Los Angeles (45), Alameda (1), San Diego (1)vand Ventura (1) from late-May 2018 to August 31 st 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 11th 2019.There was no extension from this location.

The successive monthly incidence rate of ND declined in November 2008 but a surge in cases in Riverside County occurred in mid-December 2008. 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 infection of 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 18th 2009 and Coconino County, AZ (near Flagstaff) in early April 2009, presumably due to illegal movement of birds from Southern California. It is understood that the USDA made 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 Canada and the U.S. 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