According to USDA's latest report, US turkey meat production in the third quarter of 2012 was 1.48 billion pounds, up by 4% from a year earlier.
The increase was due in almost equal parts to an increase in the number of turkeys slaughtered and to gains in the average weight at slaughter. The number of turkeys slaughtered in third-quarter 2012 was 63.5 million, an increase of less than 3 percent from a year earlier; the average weight at slaughter was 29.2 pounds, a gain of just under 1 percent from third-quarter 2011.
Turkey meat production in fourth-quarter 2012 is forecasted at 1.55 billion pounds, which again would be a substantial increase from the same period a year earlier, up 3.7%. Most of this increase is expected to come from a higher number of turkeys slaughtered, with only small gains in average weights.
Turkey production in 2013 is forecast at 5.79 billion pounds, which would be a decrease of 3% from the previous year. The decline in turkey production is expected to come from the combination of high feed prices, larger beginning stocks, and lower year-over-year prices for whole birds in fourth-quarter 2012 and in the first half of 2013.
Relatively strong turkey meat production increases in the second and third quarters (up 2 and 4%) boosted cold storage holdings of turkey to 521 million pounds at the end of September, up 2 % from a year earlier. The growth in overall stocks of turkey products hides a wide disparity in the direction of stocks level changes for whole birds compared with turkey products. Stocks of turkey products totalled 217 million pounds at the end of the third quarter, a decrease of 6% from the previous year.
This stock decrease has been partly due to strong exports of turkey products, especially in third-quarter 2012. Stocks of whole birds have been moving in the opposite direction at the end of September, stocks of whole birds were estimated at 305 million pounds, up 9% from a year earlier.
Related site: USDA report