Forecast broiler production was increased because of the strong pace of slaughter and solid bird availability. Egg prices were increased for the remainder of the year as recent prices have continued to surpass prior expectations. 2017 Turkey production is increased by 10 million pounds to 6.008 billion pounds, and 2018 production is reduced by 40 million pounds to 6.140 billion, according to USDA Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook Report. The reductions in the forecasts are the result of declining hatchery placements in response to sustained low prices relative to history.

August broiler meat production was 3.8 billion pounds, approximately 3 percent above last year. Preliminary estimates of September production were below last year, in part because there was one fewer slaughter day; however, production appeared relatively robust on active slaughter days. Based on hatchery data, birds should continue to be available in good numbers, and producers have an incentive to sustain the pace of production before prices decline further on seasonal patterns. Expected third-quarter production was increased to 10.45 billion pounds and forecast fourth-quarter production was increased to 10.35 billion pounds.

Broiler exports in August were 578 million pounds, down marginally from last year. Mexico, Taiwan, and the Republic of Congo were shipped 11 million fewer pounds, while Hong Kong and South Korea received 9 and 8 million fewer pounds, respectively. These particular declines were more than offset by higher exports to Georgia, Angola, Cuba, Iraq, South Africa, and Qatar, where shipments were 29 million, 26 million, 15 million, 11 million, 10 million, and 7 million pounds higher than last year.

Exports of U.S. broiler meat to Mexico, the largest foreign market, have been relatively weak this year. While year-to-date Mexico has accounted for 20 percent of U.S. broiler exports, shipments have been 10 percent fewer than last year. Mexican domestic production has increased by more than enough to make up the difference, and Brazil’s exports to Mexico have been trending upwards (see chart below). Global demand for U.S. broiler meat has shifted as countries other than Mexico purchase more, including those mentioned above. Forecast total exports were left unchanged.

Weekly prices for whole broilers (national composite) mostly declined throughout September on a typical seasonal pattern. The price was 84 cents per pound for the week ending October 13. The fourth-quarter forecast was reduced marginally from last month to 85-89 cents per pound.