U.S. broiler meat production is expected to total 37.5 billion pounds in 2013, up 2.5 percent from 2012, with the growth spread over the year as processors expand production in response to generally better conditions, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook report.

The increase in broiler meat production is expected to come from both a greater number of birds slaughtered and a small increase in average bird weights, said the report. There are two primary factors that will likely influence expanded broiler meat production in 2013. The first is the degree to which processors feel demand will reflect expansion in the general economy. The second factor is what integrators expect for changes to corn and soybean prices.

At the present time corn prices for the marketing year are forecast to average $4.20–$5.00 per bushel in 2012–2013, down from $5.95–$6.25 per bushel in 2011–2012. This decline will be mitigated by relatively high prices for soybean meal. Prices for 48 percent protein soybean meal are forecast at $350–$365 per ton in 2012–2013, compared to $360 per ton in 2011–2012.

The broiler meat production forecast for the second quarter of 2012 is 9.1 billion pounds, down 4.3 percent from 2011 numbers. Broiler production is expected to be below 2011 until fourth-quarter 2012 when processors are expected to respond to a gradually strengthening economy and lower grain prices.

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