June 4 Weekly Update

6/4 – Chicken production is finally recovering from a combination of higher mortality rates and lower slaughter weights in the wake of woody breast syndrome. Mortality is still an issue. YTD eggs set into incubators are up 2.8% from a year ago, but chicks being placed for grow-out are up just 1.4%. Over the past 3 years, the ratio of chicks placed to eggs set has dropped from 81.9% in 2016, to 81.0% in 2017, to 80.0% so far this year. Lower mortality rates are thought to be related to less antibiotics usage. But bigger birds are back in fashion. April liveweights at 6.27 pounds are up 1.5% from a year ago and YTD weights through April are up 1.2 %. As a result, April broiler output (adjusted by production days) was up 3.2% from last year and total output for Jan-Apr is up 2.9%. Subsequently, boneless skinless breast is $1.21 per pound vs. $1.65 a year ago; wings are $1.35 vs. $2.06.