U.S. turkey meat production in the third quarter of 2011 was 1.4 billion pounds, up less than 1% from 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

As with broiler production, third-quarter 2011 turkey production saw a reduction in the number of birds being slaughtered and an increase in their average weight. In the case of turkeys, the number of birds slaughtered in the third quarter was 61.9 million, down 1% from 2010 numbers. Offsetting this was a 2% increase in average live weights to 28.9 pounds.

Turkey meat production in the fourth quarter of 2011 is forecast at 1.5 billion pounds, which would again be a small increase from 2010. Growth in turkey production in the second half of 2011 is expected to be different from the first half, which showed strong increases in turkey meat production.

Turkey production in 2012 is forecast at 5.85 billion pounds, which would be an increase of just under 1% from 2011. Even though turkey prices have remained strong through all of 2011, turkey producers will be faced with the impact of high grain prices and a relatively sluggish domestic economy, according to the USDA.

For more poultry statistics and information, see wattagnet.com/marketdata.html