The outlook for the U.S. broiler and turkey industries for 2014 looks good, although broiler profits won't be as high as they have been in 2013, said Paul Aho, Poultry Perspective economist. Aho shared his insights for the short-term future of the poultry industry during the Meat and Poultry Supply and Price Forecast webinar, hosted September 10 by WATT Global Media.

The broiler and turkey sectors are at different economic cycles now, with profits in the broiler industry strong and the turkey industry experiencing financial struggles. While profits within the broiler industry have been improving steadily, Aho expects broiler profits to tail off in the last quarter of 2013 because of the increased production.

"The turkey outlook is improving, kind of the opposite of chicken. When the chicken industry was gaining money, the turkey industry was losing money. The turkey cutout margin is probably hitting bottom now and will improve, and the margin will probably improve because eggs in incubators are down quite a bit when compared to earlier," Aho said. "It's reversing now. Profits are going up for the turkey industry while reducing for the chicken industry, but I think we can look for a profitable 2014 for both."

Just how profitable chicken and poultry production will be in 2014 remains uncertain, Aho said, with the availability of soybeans for feed still in question.

Looking ahead to 2015, Aho was more hesitant to offer an outlook. Since poultry production is a cyclical industry, a downward trend in the broiler industry could arise. However, he said if the industry experiences a downturn, it will still be better than the decline seen in 2011.

"The next time the cycle turns down, it won't be as bad as the last time it turned down," said Aho. "We're cycling upward from some pretty bad years."