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Poultry Market Analysis

Outside of aquaculture, poultry is the most efficient converter of feed to food for humans. Vertical integration facilitates rapid expansion or contraction production phases to accommodate external market variables such as crop conditions that influence feed prices, or legislation. Following the depopulation of hog herds in Asian countries from African Swine Fever during 2019, poultry production has now become the largest single terrestrial animal agriculture sector in the world. A broiler is a chicken raised specifically for meat production.

Key facts about the global poultry market
  • World broiler meat production was estimated at over 96 million metric tonnes during 2019.
  • The US is the top producer or broiler meat, producing over 19 million metric tonnes annually, of which nearly 85% is consumed domestically.
  • The second largest producing country Brazil is most heavily reliant on exports, catering mainly to China and Middle Eastern Nations, with over 28% of the total 13 million metric tonnes produced exported to other markets. Of that, 70% is destined for China.
  • US chicken prices are typically seasonally influenced; breast meat is most in demand during the spring and summer for grilling and barbecuing, and wing supplies become tighter during autumn as consumption is closely tied with the US football season.
  • Roughly 20% of all US broiler meat (mainly dark meat) exported ends up in Mexico, along with more than 60% of US turkey meat exports.

Key themes affecting the poultry market

Favourable animal feed prices and genetic efficiencies have supported production growth of poultry in recent years. Although demand has trailed growth, the overall global increase in protein consumption and an improving global economy have supported expansion of the market.

Over the last three years, the US poultry industry has implemented more than five additional processing plants, with a focus on producing “jumbo birds” weighing more than seven pounds on a liveweight basis. US production favours white-feathered chickens and consumers traditionally favour white meat. By comparison, China favours yellow-feathered variants, and most export markets favour dark meat. US broiler chickens are very efficient converters of feed into protein, adding 1 lb of mass for every 1.8 lbs of feed consumed.

Turkeys have traditionally been grown to supply the US Thanksgiving national holiday, but a large and growing segment of the market is moving towards processed product used throughout the year. Thanksgiving hens sold at retail typically weigh between 8 lbs and 16 lbs. Whole birds are much smaller than what is raised in the processed segment, yet price dynamics remain closely tied. US domestic whole bird prices have been weakened in recent years, but the processed segment has offset losses for producers.

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) has imposed a sizeable threat to poultry production over the last few years, yet additional biosecurity measures and vaccinations have contributed to hastened need for widespread culling as a result.

US Broiler Cutout Value price range, $/CWT
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US Turkey Weighted Cutout Value price range, $/CWT
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At IHS Markit we offer market-leading food commodities information solutions via our globally recognised IEG Vantage and IEG Vu services across 20,000+ datasets. We are specialists in offering comprehensive data and analysis across the global agricultural commodities and processed food markets, with current, short-term and long-term solutions to support all your operational needs.

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IEG Vu’s daily service is the market leader in updates and news on the agricultural commodity and processed food markets, with modular channel access available across the breadth of traded food, including the international poultry markets. Coverage spans from pricing news and key trends impacting production to incoming legislation and geopolitical impacts to the market. An IEG Vu subscription also includes access to a range of historic data tools covering pricing, trade volumes and production at a granular level.

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Weekly and monthly production, trade and price forecasts

IEG Vantage is the only service in the market that provides comprehensive analysis of near-term market developments for the 12 months ahead, from market trends to supply-demand, production and price forecasts. Poultry coverage spans US and international markets for chicken, turkey and broiler meat ranging from whole animals and processed cuts of poultry. Subscriptions also include daily market commentary to provide context for daily trading and procurement workflow needs.

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