July 15, 2014

Chicken industry experiencing difficulty meeting demand as a result of tight breeder supplies

The short supply of breeder birds is hitting the chicken industry hard, particularly since demand for chicken has picked up dramatically as a result of the hike in beef and pork prices this year.  Some fertility issues in breeder stock is also having an impact on the industry, which is having a difficult time keeping up with demand.  Industry executives have estimated it could be spring of 2015 before the industry will be able to produce a material increase in chicken products in the market, according to a Reuters report.The difficulties began with feed prices in 2011, when corn was $8 a bushel and the U.S. economy was sluggish, causing chicken processing companies to cut back on production and breeders to reduce their flocks.  While grain prices have now fallen and demand for chicken is on the rise, U.S. poultry breeders are still rebuilding their flocks. Without sufficient breeder stock in the pipeline, it can take 18 months to rebuild breeder stock; 25 weeks for breeder stock grandparents to mature, another 25 weeks for the breeder parents to mature, then an additional 25 weeks for the breeders sold to growers to mature and become productive, according to Mike Cockrell, chief financial officer at Sanderson Farms. Read More

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