Animal Units (AUs) are equal to 1,000 animal pounds, for example, an average mature 1,400 lb cow is 1.4 animal units, a turkey over five pounds is 0.018 AUs, a turkey under five pounds is 0.005 AUs. These measurements are calculated to make the data comparable across species, and allow for large scale trend analysis. (Additionally, to understand more about the way animal units are calculated for capacity purposes in Iowa see the DNR’s website here.)

 What this means is that the 1.6 million AUs translates to an average of 234 million turkeys in the Midwest.

The Midwest positions feed production in close proximity to the animals which create a demand for this feed, making the Midwest the most productive region for animal agriculture in the United States. Within the Midwestern states, in 2016, Minnesota has the most AUs of turkey with 660,893. Illinois has decreased by 60 percent while Indiana has increased by 45 percent. Indiana is also ranked number 2 in turkey production in the Midwest.

Iowa has increased 29 percent (roughly 40,000 AUs) in the last decade going from 135,000 Turkey AUs in 2005, to 173,763 AUs in 2016.

Laying hens, and hog reports of the same nature as this report are forthcoming.

Preston Lyman is a Research Analyst with Decision Innovation Solutions (DIS). DIS is an Iowa-Based economic research firm which provides regular farm economics research and analysis to the Iowa Farm Bureau staff and members.