USDA: Turkey export and import forecasts revised up
August placements totaled 20.6 million head, 9.2 percent below placements in August of 2019. As turkeys take 14-16 weeks to mature, August turkey-chick placements are the key predictor of the expected Thanksgiving production. The third-quarter forecast was revised up to 1.45 billion pounds on production data. The fourth-quarter production forecast is 1.45 billion pounds. In total, 2020 production is forecast at 5.738 billion pounds, 1 percent lower than 2019. The 2021 forecast is unchanged at 5.77 billion pounds, which represents just under 1 percent growth over the 2020 forecast.
August turkey exports totaled 48 million pounds, 29.2 million pounds of which were shipped to Mexico. Exports to China made up 10 percent of shipments in August, totaling 4.8 million pounds. The next largest destinations were Haiti, with 1.3 million pounds, and Peru and Canada, with 1.1 million pounds each. Total exports are still behind 2019 levels, with the current year-to-date total only 86 percent of the total from January through August 2019. The graph below compares the total monthly exports in 2019, shown by the dotted line, to the current year’s exports, shown by the bars and broken out by destination. The 2020 total export forecast was increased by 10 million pounds from last month to 550 million pounds, a 14-percent decrease from 2019. The 2021 total export forecast was revised to 570 million pounds, which would represent 4 percent growth over the 2020 forecast.
Imports of turkey meat totaled 2.3 million pounds in August. While Canada shipped the most turkey to the U.S. at 1.4 million pounds, the August increase came mainly from imports from Chile. This brings the 2020 year-to-date total to 13 million pounds, surpassing imports in the same period of 2019 by 4.2 million pounds. This cumulative total is illustrated on the graph below. The 2020 forecast was increased to 20 million pounds, shown by the red square on the graph. Additionally, the 2021 import forecast was increased by one million pounds each quarter to 16 million pounds, indicated by the red triangle on the graph.
Turkey Price Forecast Raised The wholesale whole-hen price averaged 113.5 in September, bringing the third-quarter price to 111.3. The September price was nearly 20 cents above that of last year. The weekly price reached 119 cents per pound in the week ending October 2. This price is 29.5 cents above the same week last year and is the highest weekly price since late 2016. The fourth-quarter price was revised up to 112 cents on improved demand expectations.
While frozen whole-hen prices have been consistently above a year ago in 2020, wholesale prices for fresh tom turkey breasts have been doing the opposite, dropping as much as 50 cents below a year ago in April and May of 2020. Fresh tom parts are mostly destined for further processing, the capacity for which was likely disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. September prices for tom turkey breasts remain more than 25 cents below a year ago.
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