USDA Economic Research Service lowered its estimate for U.S. turkey meat production to 5.8 billion pounds in 2009 in a report released April 16.

If this estimate is correct, 7.1% less turkey will be produced in 2009 than was produced last year. In January and February, production was down 13% from the same months in 2008.

Even with the reduction in pounds slaughtered, turkey prices have not moved up because of high cold storage numbers. At the end of February this year, turkey meat in cold storage totaled 470 million pounds, up 13% from last year.

Advertisement

Whole birds in storage totaled 217 million pounds, up 40% from last year.

USDA ERS predicts turkey whole bird prices will remain below year-before levels for the first three quarters of 2009.