Covid-19: Impact on the global poultry sector

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Covid-19 sees Canada cut poultry production

Canadian chicken producers cut production by more than 50,000 mt to balance the market after food service demand fell in the wake of Covid-19. Furthermore, chicken meat imports are expected to be relatively flat in 2020.

Increased volumes of chicken meat have been placed in cold storage in Canada, and wholesale prices have declined following the drop in chicken meat demand resulting from the closure of the food service sector.

The drop in chicken meat demand resulting from the closure of the food service sector during the Covid-19 pandemic was only partially offset by increased demand in the retail sector. Photo: Kaique
The drop in chicken meat demand resulting from the closure of the food service sector during the Covid-19 pandemic was only partially offset by increased demand in the retail sector. Photo: Kaique

This was only partially offset by increased demand in the retail sector. Wholesale prices for whole birds fell 20%, wings and chicken breasts by 30%, and leg-quarters by 45% by the end of April.

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Moderate growth was expected for the Canadian chicken industry this year, though given the current situation, FAS/Ottawa estimates annual chicken meat production at 1.315 million mt, which is a drop of 1% from 2019.

The reduced chicken meat production target volume for the cycle starting in May 2020 was achieved primarily through placing fewer broiler eggs in hatcheries. During the pandemic, several poultry plants were impacted by Covid-19 cases and several plants experienced temporary closures, although chicken slaughter remained unaffected as live birds were redirected to other processing facilities. Wholesale prices have improved though not fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels. Demand for chicken meat has picked up, in part, with the beginning of the summer barbecue season, when chicken breasts become popular.

The information in this article was taken from a USDA report prepared by Mihai Lupescu.