U.S. turkey meat production in the second half of 2012 is expected to be higher than in 2011 (up 3 percent), at 3 billion pounds, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report.

Over the first five months of 2012, net poult placements totaled 121.3 million, up 4.8 percent from the same period in 2011. Turkey meat production is expected to remain above 2011 numbers through the rest of 2012 but is expected to decline slightly in 2013.

With higher turkey production so far in 2012, stocks of whole birds have risen to well over their year-earlier levels. The growth in whole bird stocks, however, has not impacted prices yet. National prices for whole hen turkeys averaged $1.07 per pound in the second quarter of 2012, up just over 7 cents per pound from 2011 numbers. Whole turkey prices are expected to remain above year-earlier levels through the remainder of 2012, according to the USDA.

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