U.S. turkey meat production is expected to increase in 2013 to 6 billion pounds, up almost 1 percent from 2012 and the third consecutive year with a production increase, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report.

The production increase is expected to come from both an increase in the number of birds slaughtered and slightly higher average live weights at slaughter. With higher prices throughout 2011 and expected in 2012, turkey producers should have an incentive to increase production in 2013, as long as the general economic indicators remain positive, said the report.

In the first quarter of 2012, turkey meat production was 1.4 billion pounds, up 3.1 percent from the first quarter of 2011. After rising only slightly in third-quarter 2011 compared to 2010 numbers and falling in the fourth quarter of 2011, turkey processors have responded to the strong prices for whole birds that were present throughout 2011. The increase in turkey meat production was the result of a moderate increase in the number of birds slaughtered (up 1.7 percent) and higher average weights for the turkeys at slaughter (up 1.3 percent).


With turkey prices higher throughout 2011, turkey producers have had an incentive to increase production, with total production for 2012 estimated at 6.1 billion pounds, 3.3 percent higher than 2011 numbers, according to the USDA.

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