Broiler and table egg production forecasts were raised for 2018 on recent data, although just marginally for eggs. Broilers had an uptick in hatchery data indicators as well as strong gains in bird weights.

Egg stock projections were lowered for 2018 and 2019 on recent trends. The egg price projection for second quarter 2018 was reduced on recent price data similar to pre-2015 levels. Turkey production was raised slightly on stronger than expected April production. Turkey trade was revised upward as exports to Mexico remain strong, according to USDA’s June issue of Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook report.

April broiler production was 3.5 billion pounds, about 2.3 percent higher than a year ago after adjusting for an additional slaughter day this year. Average live weights were up 1.5 percent from last year, accounting for the majority of the production growth. The number of chicks placed in meat-growing operations trended relatively strong in May, supported by a breeder inventory of over 59 million as of May 1. Strong broiler prices and relatively low numbers of eggs-hatched per breeder have provided incentives to expand breeder inventory and grow meat birds heavier. These indicators’ strong performance and revised first-quarter production data contributed to an upward revision of the 2018 production projection to 42.450 billion pounds, 120 million pounds above the previous month’s projection.

Broiler exports in April were 583 million pounds, up 66 million pounds (13 percent) year over year (YOY). The United States’ major broiler export markets (in terms of volume) all contributed to this sizable growth (see figure below). Most notable were Taiwan, Mexico, Angola, Cuba, and Congo. April shipments to Taiwan and Mexico were 56 million pounds (+139 percent over April 2017) and 121 million pounds (+22 percent YOY), respectively. Exports to Angola and Cuba were 53 million pounds (+20 percent YOY) and 39 million pounds (+25 percent YOY) of broiler shipments, respectively, while Congo was shipped 15 million pounds (+106 percent YOY). Despite strong export volumes in April, expectations for the coming months–barring unforeseen changes–are on pace with 2018 forecasts, which remain unchanged.

Continuing on an upward trend, weekly whole broiler (national composite) prices in May reached a year-to-date high above 120 cents per pound for the week ending June 1. In the beginning of May, weekly prices exhibited strong year-over-year growth (+15 percent) as well as week-over-week growth (+4.5 percent), but slowed to 4 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively, for the week ending June 1. Consistent with seasonal patterns, prices are expected to begin a gradual decrease that will continue into the next several months. The 2018 and 2019 forecasts remain unchanged.

 

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