Poultry Outlook: April 2024

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    Broiler Production Adjusted Up in 2024

    Broiler production totaled 3,734 million pounds in February, an increase of 4.2 percent from
    February 2023. This is primarily due to February 2024 having one more slaughter day, as
    slaughter per day was down about 1 percent year over year and average weights were the
    same as last February at 6.49 pounds per live bird. Based on strength in preliminary slaughter data for March, projected production in the first quarter is adjusted up to 11,725 million pounds, an increase of 1.5 percent from the first quarter of 2023. Based on favorable hatchery data, projected production in the second quarter is also increased by 50 million pounds to 11,725 million pounds. Projected third-quarter production is unchanged from last month at 11,850 million pounds. Based on expectations that feed costs will ease toward the end of the year, fourth-quarter production is also increased by 50 million pounds to 11,800 million pounds. In sum, projected 2024 production is 47,100 million pounds, up 225 million pounds from last month’s projection and up 713 million pounds (1.5 percent) from the 2023 total.

    Broiler Exports and Imports Adjusted Down in 2024

    Broiler exports totaled 546.8 million pounds in February, a decrease of 10.2 percent from
    February 2023. Shipments to Mexico increased 2.4 percent year over year and accounted for 24.7 percent of February exports, despite technical disruptions at the Mexican border. Some of the largest year-over-year decreases were in shipments to China (-19.0 million pounds), Cuba (-15.1 million pounds), the Republic of the Congo (-13.6 million pounds), South Africa (-11.3 million pounds), and Colombia (-10.7 million pounds). Smaller year-over-year increases in shipments to Qatar (+9.6 million pounds), the United Arab Emirates (+7.9 million pounds), the Philippines (+7.1 million pounds), Suriname (4.2 million pounds), Angola (+4.2 million pounds), and other markets were not enough to offset the decreases. Based on February data, projected exports for the first quarter of 2024 are adjusted down by 75 million pounds to 1,725 million pounds. The outlying quarterly projections are each adjusted down by 10 million pounds, making the 2024 total export projection 7,060 million pounds. This would be down 2.8 percent from the 2023 total and represent 15.0 percent of projected 2024 broiler production.

    Broiler imports totaled 12.3 million pounds in February, 2.4 million pounds over the same month last year, but down 2.9 million pounds from January. Imports from Chile totaled 8.5 million pounds, down 2.7 million pounds month over month. Based on February data and lower expectations for shipments from Chile, projected broiler imports for 2024 are adjusted down to 178 million pounds. This would still be an increase of 47 million pounds from the 2023 total.

    Broiler Price Projections Increased

    The March average national composite wholesale broiler price was 129.52 cents per pound.
    This is down about half-a-cent year over year but up 22 cents from the 5-year average for
    March. Reflecting recent price data, projected quarterly average prices for 2024 are adjusted up to 137 cents per pound in the second quarter (+6 cents), and to 126 cents per pound in the third and fourth quarters (+1 cent). This would result in an annual average price of 129 cents per pound, about 5 cents over the 2023 average.

    Table Egg Production Adjusted Down in 2024

    Table egg production totaled 616.2 million dozen in February, up 5.0 percent from February
    2023. The February flock averaged 310.4 million birds, nearly flat month over month and down 0.6 percent from a year earlier. The year-over-year increase in egg production is mainly attributed to an average daily lay rate of 82.2 eggs per 100 layers, an increase of 2.0 percent from last February. Table egg layer inventory was 311.2 million birds on the first of March. This is up slightly month over month but still 18.1 million birds below the 5-year average for March. Based on the strength of lay rates, estimated first-quarter table egg production is unchanged at 1,940 million dozen. However, in light of recent outbreaks of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in Texas and Michigan table egg facilities with losses totaling 5.97 million birds, as well as slow flock recovery moving forward, projected table egg production is adjusted down to 1,935 million dozen in the second quarter, 1,990 million dozen in the third quarter, and 2,055 million dozen in the fourth quarter. In total, table egg production in 2024 is projected at 7,920 million dozen. This is down 70 million dozen from last month’s projection but would be an increase of 0.7 percent year over year.

    Egg Price Projections Adjusted Up

    The daily New York wholesale price for large eggs averaged 238.1 cents per dozen in March. After holding at 226 cents per dozen from March 4th through the 12th, daily prices climbed up to 253 cents per dozen, where they held for the rest of the month and through the first week of April. This followed a draw-down in inventory, presumably in preparation for Easter demand. Following the holiday a drop in prices is typical, but daily prices remained flat at 253 cents per dozen through April 10th. Based on recent price data, as well as lowered production expectations due to HPAI losses, the second-quarter projected average price was adjusted up by 40 cents to 200 cents per dozen, the third-quarter projection by 30 cents to 175 cents per dozen, and the fourth-quarter by 15 cents to 180 cents per dozen. This makes the projected annual 2024 average price 203 cents per dozen, up about 11 cents above the 2023 average.

    Projected Egg and Egg Product Exports Adjusted Up in First Quarter

    Combined egg and egg product exports in February totaled 25.3 million shell-egg equivalent dozen, an increase of 10.2 million from February 2023 and of 7.3 million month over month. Compared to last year, egg product exports increased by 2.9 million dozen equivalent, while shell-egg exports increased by 7.3 million dozen. Various countries contributed to the large year-over-year increase, including Canada (+4.3 million shell-egg equivalent dozen), Japan (+2.1 million shell-egg equivalent dozen), Denmark (+1.4 million shell-egg equivalent dozen), and Australia (+1.1 million shell-egg equivalent dozen). Based on February data, projected egg and egg product exports are adjusted up by 5 million dozen to 63 million shell-egg equivalent dozen in the first quarter, making the annual total 246 million shell-egg equivalent dozen. This would still be a decrease of 4.4 million dozen from 2023 and would account for 2.7 percent of projected table and hatching egg production in 2024.

    Projected Turkey Production Adjusted Up in First Quarter

    Turkey production in February 2024 totaled 423.9 million pounds, an increase of 1.1 percent year over year. Slaughter per day was down 2.6 percent year over year, but total slaughter still benefited from the additional leap year slaughter day, increasing 2.3 percent. Average live weights were 0.3 pounds lower than February of last year. Based on strong February data, estimated first-quarter production was adjusted up by 5 million pounds to 1,305 million pounds. This would still be a decrease of 3.3 percent year over year. Monthly turkey poult placements in February were down year over year. With the outlying quarterly projections unchanged, total turkey production in 2024 is projected at 5,375 million pounds. This would be a decrease of 1.5 percent from the 2023 total. In March and April, there have only been two additional instances of HPAI among turkeys: one in a flock of 31,200 meat turkeys in South Dakota, confirmed on March 12th, and another in Minnesota involving 61,500 meat turkeys, confirmed on April 11th. These cases alone are not expected to have a significant impact on turkey production.

    Turkey Imports Adjusted Down, Exports Unchanged

    Turkey imports totaled 2.1 million pounds in February, with the majority (1.2 million pounds) coming from Canada. After shipping an average of 5 million pounds per month in 2022, shipments from Chile declined, dropping all the way to zero in May and June of last year while the Chilean industry was dealing with its own domestic outbreak of HPAI. Although shipments restarted in July, they did not return at the same pace as in early 2023 and have amounted to less than a million pounds per month in January and February 2024. Based on recent data and the expectation that turkey shipments from Chile will remain small, projected turkey imports for 2024 are adjusted down by 20 million pounds to 31 million pounds. Turkey exports totaled 36.4 million pounds in February. This is down slightly month over month but up 11.5 million pounds year over year. Exports to Mexico totaled 27.2 million pounds, making up 74.8 percent of exports. Based on recent data, the projection for 2024 turkey exports is unchanged at 520 million pounds. This would represent 9.7 percent of projected 2024 turkey production.

    Turkey Prices Adjusted Down in 2024

    Wholesale prices for frozen whole-hen turkeys averaged 91.12 cents per pound in March,
    resulting in a first-quarter average price of 92.09 cents per pound. Weekly prices in March
    ranged from a low of 84.9 cents per pound in the week ending the 29th to a high of 103 cents per pound in the week ending the 22nd, although the week ending the 22nd had the lowest volume traded. Based on recent data, the projected second-quarter average is adjusted down to 103 cents per pound, the third quarter to 108 cents per pound, and the fourth quarter to 114 cents per pound. This would result in an annual average of 104 cents per pound, a decrease of 36 cents from the 2023 average.

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