The U.S. broiler meat production estimate for the first quarter of 2012 was increased by 150 million pounds to 8.85 billion pounds, a decrease of 5 percent from a year earlier, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture report.

The revision is the result of January’s stronger-than-expected broiler meat production and an assumption that the slaughter trend will carry into February and March. Some of the production decrease is expected to come from a smaller number of birds slaughtered, but part of that decrease is expected to be offset by small gains in average weights at slaughter throughout the remainder of the first quarter and into the second. Based on the expectation of slightly higher weights, the meat production estimate for the second quarter was also increased and now is expected to total 9.05 billion pounds, according to the USDA.


Broiler meat production for January was reported at 3.09 billion pounds, down only 1 percent from 2011 numbers. The decrease was the result of small decline in the number of birds slaughtered and the average live weight at slaughter. The decline in the number of birds slaughtered was less than expected. The total number of birds slaughtered was 706 million, down 1 percent from January 2011, and the total liveweight of broilers at slaughter declined by 1 percent. The average liveweight at slaughter was 5.84 pounds, a decline of .01 pounds per bird (0.3 percent) from 2011. 

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