U.S. turkey meat production in July was 497 million pounds, up 11 percent from July 2011 numbers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report.

The increase in July was due chiefly to a larger number of birds slaughtered, and part of the increase was the result of one more slaughter day in July 2012 than in July 2011, according to the USDA. Total meat production was also boosted by a slight increase in average bird weights to 29.3 pounds, up just under 1 percent from 2011. Over the first 7 months, 2012 turkey production has totaled 3.4 billion pounds, an increase of 4 percent from the same period in 2011. The increase in turkey production is due to a combination of a 3-percent gain in the number of birds slaughtered and a 1-percent gain in their average weight at slaughter.

The production estimate for 2013 has been lowered by 30 million pounds to 5.8 billion pounds, down 3.2 percent from 2012. The reduction reflects the impact that higher feed prices are expected to have on poultry production and placements in the remainder of 2012. The higher feed costs, coupled with relatively weak economic conditions, are expected to cause turkey producers to lower production.

Turkey meat production is expected to be higher on a year-over-year basis for both the third and fourth quarters of 2012. Coupled with higher stocks thus far in 2012, this is expected to cause cold storage holdings to be higher than in 2011 through the end of 2012. With lower turkey meat production forecast for 2013, cold storage holdings of turkey products in 2013 are expected to drop below year-earlier levels, according to the USDA.