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Broiler production.

Broiler production is forecast to increase about 4 percent in 1993 to nearly 22 billion pounds, compared with a 6 percent increase in 1992. Average liveweights are expected to continue to rise, after reaching about 4.5 pounds in 1992. The industry realized moderate but positive net returns for most of 1992, but particularly in the fourth quarter when strong exports supported wholesale prices unseasonably. Positive returns are likely for 1993, reflecting steady prices and lower corn and soybean meal costs.

ERS is still reviewing procedures used to estimate broiler costs and returns. A special article is planned for a forthcoming Livestock and Poultry Situation and Outlook report to describe changes in estimating procedures and provide an updated series.

First-quarter 1993 production is expected to be 3-4 percent above a year earlier. This estimate is based upon the November chick hatch and weekly chick placements in December and January, which were up an average of 3 percent. Also, slightly heavier slaughter weights will help boost first-quarter output. A 1-percent increase in the size of the broiler-type hatching egg flock on December 1, 1992, a rough indicator of broiler egg-laying capacity, suggests the 4-percent rise in broiler output during the second quarter. The estimated hatchery supply flock is expected up around 3 percent from a year earlier through April 1993, based on cumulative placements in the broiler hatchery supply flocks 7-14 months earlier.

Steady Prices Expected in 1993

Wholesale prices for whole birds are expected to average 49-55 cents a pound in 1993, compared with 1992's 52.6 cents. First-quarter prices are expected to average 50-56 cents per pound, compared with 50.2 cents in 1992, when production rose about 9 percent. Quarterly prices for whole, chill-packed broilers are expected to hold in the low to mid 50 cent range before declining seasonally in the fourth quarter.

Overall, 1993 retail prices for whole broilers will be similar to a year ago, at about 87 cents a pound. Retail prices could hold steady in the first quarter as consumers shift back to chicken after the holiday season focus on turkey and ham.

Per capita 1993 consumption of broilers, given continued relatively low retail prices, is expected to increase about 2 pounds, to around 69 pounds retail basis.

Record Broiler Exports in 1992 and 1993

Exports increased about 15 percent in 1992, reaching a record estimated at 1.45 billion pounds, or about 7 percent of broiler production. There were gains in most major markets, except the former Soviet Union (FSU). The Pacific area accounted for nearly one-half of the U.S. exports. Exports were up 37 percent to Hong Kong, replacing Japan as the top export market in terms of quantity, at about 320 million pounds. Exports were also up sharply to Mexico, Canada, and Jamaica. U.S. broiler meat parts are generally available at lower prices than domestic supplies in many importing countries. To compete with EC export subsidies, mainly in the Middle East, sales of whole broilers under the Export Enhancement Program (EEP) in 1992 totaled 38.3 million pounds, compared with 42.1 million in 1991.

In 1993, U.S. broiler exports will likely set another record at around 1.5 billion pounds. Low-priced U.S. dark meat parts will continue to find export markets. Exports to the FSU are expected to recover from the relatively low level of 1992. Exports to Russia are being aided by USDA export credit guarantees. Availability of financing for purchases, as well as terms for repayment by Russia and other republics, will again be a major factor in determining the actual level of exports to the FSU. The Pacific area, Mexico, and Canada are again expected to be major growth markets in 1993.
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Publication:Frozen Food Digest
Article Type:Industry Overview
Date:Apr 1, 1993
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