The U.S. broiler meat production estimate for the third quarter of 2011 was increased by 25 million pounds to 9.4 billion pounds, down only 1% from 2010 numbers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report.

While the number of chicks being placed for growout is down significantly, average live bird weights at slaughter have continued to be much higher than during the same period in 2010. Over the last five weeks, an average of 162 million broiler chicks was placed weekly for growout, down 5% from 2010. 

The broiler meat production estimate for the fourth quarter of 2011 was lowered to 9.2 billion pounds, down 25 million pounds from the previous estimate. The reduction in fourth-quarter production stems chiefly from the impact of continued lower chick placement, according to the USDA. However, unlike in the third quarter of 2011, live bird weight at slaughter is expected to be much closer to that of 2010. The new production estimate for 2012 is 37.5 billion pounds, only a slight increase from 2010. This downward revision in the 2012 production estimate was due to expected continued high grain
prices, along with only minor improvements in the domestic economy.

For more U.S. poultry data, see www.wattagnet.com/marketdata.html