Turkey meat production in the US amounted to 530 million pound (240 million kg) in August, up 5.7% from a year earlier, a recent USDA report states.
The number of turkeys slaughtered (22.9 million) was 3.8% higher than a year earlier, and the average liveweight at slaughter (28.9 pounds), was 1.3% higher.
Year–over-year turkey production increased through the first half of 2012, and continued growth is expected in the second half of the year, according to the USDA’s Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook. However, the most recent turkey hatchery data point to a possible change in this pattern. In August, the number of net poult placements for growout totalled 23.5 million birds, down 1.7% from the previous year. This is the first monthly year-over-year decline in 2012. Also the number of turkey eggs in incubators at the beginning of September totaled 26.3 million, down 6.3% from a year earlier.
At the end of August, cold storage holdings of turkey products totaled 555 million pounds, 5% higher than the previous year. Compared with 2011, strong growth in production during the first 8 months of 2012 has led to a buildup of stocks. Overall turkey stocks were above those of the previous year for 14 of the last 15 months. Increases in turkey stocks over the last several months were due primarily to seasonally larger holdings of whole birds. At the end of August 2012, cold storage holdings of whole birds totaled 327 million pounds, up 12% from August 2011, but cold storage holdings of turkey parts totaled 228 million pounds, 3.6% lower than the amount of the previous year.
With turkey meat production growth for third-quarter 2012 expected at 3.7% and with an additional 3.7% increase in production expected for fourthquarter 2012, ending stocks for 2012 are expected to be 250 million pounds, up strongly (18%) from 2011. However, with production expected to be lower in 2013 and stock levels are expected to decline and remain lower than the previous year through 2013.