The WASDE projects total red meat production to be up by 3.7 percent in 2016, followed by another 3.9% gain in 2017. This has been led by large gains in beef production over last year with significant, but somewhat smaller gains in the pork sector. Broiler production, in comparison, is expected to rise 1.7% in 2016, and 2% in 2017 year over year.
In recent weeks the number of broiler eggs set and chicks placed has shot up compared to year ago levels. Figure 1 shows year over year percentages since the first of the year. This is a contrast to the number of chicks placed in the hatchery supply flock, i.e. the layers placed that will hatch broiler chicks. The USDA-NASS Chicken and Eggs October report showed those placements dropped dramatically compared to year ago levels. September broiler type chicks hatched destined for the hatcher supply flock were down 18 percent on the heels of a 3 and 8 percent decline in August and July. Fewer layers entering the hatchery flock will limit the production increases in the short term. However, because of the short cycle broiler production can quickly change direction. Eggs in incubators have been up year over year in July, August and September months. November Chicken and Eggs will likely show numbers coming more in line with the decrease in the hatchery supply flock, and a subsequent slowing in the weekly data of eggs set and chicks placed.
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