Total broiler meat production in April 2011 was 2.97 billion pounds, a decrease of 2.3% from the previous year, according to the latest figures from the USDA.
A considerable share of the decline can be attributed to 1 less slaughter day in April 2011. Broiler meat production on a yearover- year basis rose in 3 of the first 4 months in 2011. Processors reported slaughtering 686 million broilers in April 2011, a decrease of 4% from the previous year. Partially offsetting this was an increase in the average liveweight at slaughter of those broilers to 5.76 pounds, up 1.4% from a year earlier.
In addition to the increase in the average liveweight, there was an increase in the average meat yield per bird to 4.33 pounds, a 1.8-% increase from a year earlier.
With a combination of continued sluggishness of the domestic economy and forecast higher prices for both corn and soybean meal, the broiler meat production estimates for fourth-quarter 2011 and for 2012 were revised downward from the previous month’s estimate. The meat production estimate for fourth-quarter 2011 was lowered by 25 million pounds to 9.4 billion pounds. The estimate for firstquarter 2012 was also lowered by 25 million pounds, to 9.36 billion pounds, and the total for 2012 was reduced by 100 million pounds to 38.0 billion pounds.
Turkey meat production in April was 456 million pounds, up fractionally from a year earlier. As with broilers, the driving factor in the increase has been higher bird weights. In April the number of birds slaughtered was 19.1 million, down about 0.5% from the previous year. This was offset by a 1-% increase in the average weight at slaughter to 30 pounds. Again, the small increase in turkey meat production in April was in part due to 1 less slaughter day in April 2011 than in the previous year.
During January to April 2011, the number of hens in the US table egg flock was slightly higher than during the same period in 2010. In April, the flock was estimated at 283 million birds, up fractionally from the previous year. That small increase in the size of the table flock, augmented by an increase in the rate of lay for table egg birds in April, resulted in a 1.0% increase in the number of table eggs produced in April to 546 million dozen.
While the production estimates for the second half of 2011 were raised slightly, the 2012 production estimates for both table egg and hatching eggs were lowered. The estimate for table egg production in 2012 was lowered by 20 million dozen to 6.54 billion and the estimate for hatching eggs was reduced by 8 million dozen to 1.0 billion dozen. The changes for the table egg market are brought about chiefly by the increases in grain prices, and the reduction in hatching egg production is mostly the result of an anticipated decline in broiler meat production.