Sanderson Farms Inc. reported net income of $26.2 million for its second fiscal quarter which ended April 30, 2009. The company slaughtered 4% less tonnage in the second quarter of 2009 than it did in the same quarter of 2008; this is in spite of ramping up of production at the company's new Waco, Texas, facility.

Joe F. Sanderson Jr., chairman and CEO of Sanderson Farms, said that this reduction in volume was the result of reduced placements at all of the company's complexes besides Waco and a reduction in bird weights.

Sanderson Farms will continue its chick placements at the reduced second quarter levels in the third quarter, but it will return its bird weights to prior, heavier levels. Sanderson said that the net affect will be that the company's processed pounds will be 2% less in the third quarter of 2009 than in the same period in 2008.

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Despite the broiler industry's recent return to profitability, Sanderson does not see a quick significant increase in slaughter tonnage on the horizon. He said that breeder pullet placements are still running below year-before levels and that a recent USDA report projects breeder numbers to be 5% below year-before levels into the fall of this year. Because of this, Sanderson said that he is not concerned about a significant increase in the supply of chicken this year.

Sanderson expects broiler breast meat prices to move up somewhat prior to July 4, but he doesn't expect them to reach summer of 2004 levels. Boneless skinless breast meat topped $2.50 per pound in the summer of 2004.

Grain prices have moderated in 2009 as compared to 2008. Sanderson said that if current futures prices are used to determine feed cost for Sanderson's birds for the remainder of 2009, then this would net a cost reduction of $0.04 per pound as compared to the costs experienced in the same time frame last year.