The U.S. has exported less turkey but more broilers so far in 2013, and according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook, released on June 18, the two are likely related.
"In the first four months of 2013, U.S. turkey shipments to Mexico continued to decline while U.S. broiler shipments to Mexico remained strong, which may imply that Mexico is substituting U.S. broiler meat for U.S. turkey meat," the report stated.
U.S. broiler shipments totaled 613 million pounds in April, a 2.5 percent increase from April 2012. The report cited increased demand from Mexico, Cuba, China and Iraq as major contributors to the increase. Broiler shipments to Mexico during April reached an all-time high of 117.7 million pounds, a 29 percent increase from April 2012. Nearly 20 percent of all United States' broiler shipments during April went to Mexico.
Meanwhile, U.S. turkey exports dropped 13 percent in April, totaling 56 million pounds. About 30.6 million of those pounds were shipped to Mexico, which was a six percent drop from the trade reported for April 2012. The U.S. turkey industry also saw exports to China and Hong Kong drop four percent.
The USDA points out that the gains in U.S. broiler shipments to Mexico substantially exceed the losses of U.S. turkey shipments to Mexico.
"Because Mexico is the U.S.' largest turkey and broiler market, any substitutions in Mexico of U.S. broiler meat for turkey meat, or vice versa, will continue to support U.S. poultry trade," the report stated.