A WATT-Rennier Poultry Confidence Index survey poll shows that nine-out-of-ten respondents identified grain prices as the top issue for the U.S. poultry industry for the next six months. This was up from 82 percent a year ago.

Record grain prices – driven by the recent drought – have directly impacted the industry, as feed now accounts for nearly three-quarters of broiler production costs.

The general economy was the only other issue mentioned by more than half of the respondents. Concern over the economy was up dramatically over the previous year.

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Costs once again weighed heavily on the minds of respondents in 2012 as input costs (excluding grain) was the third-most important issue. Gasoline, propane and natural gas costs recently have been on the rise.

Protein supply and demand – the second-most important issue in 2011 – was only middle-of-the-pack in 2012. This most likely reflects the efforts of some integrators to reduce production.

Also declining in importance were regulatory issues, bird health/diseases and environmental concerns.