4/29 – In April’s Livestock, Dairy & Poultry Outlook, the USDA (again) dropped its first-half 2019 broiler output forecast to 21.16B pounds, now up just 0.4% from a year ago. Looking at Q1 data, the total number of (broiler) head slaughtered was up 0.3% from a year ago, while YOY slaughter weights were marginally negative. Hatchability continues to be an issue. In 2018, the percentage of eggs-set (into incubators) that translated into chicks placed (for grow-out) was 80.5% and is just 80.3% YTD in 2019. Hatchability has been steadily declining after reaching 82.3% in 2013. Looking forward, China’s lost a lot of hogs and there’s not enough pork available globally to fill their needs. Poultry is China’s #2 protein, and will likely also be in high demand at some point. The U.S. has some additional capacity coming on line this year, but will it be enough?