Corn futures hit $5.2375 a bushel for August, the highest price since September 2008. Tyson uses corn and soybean meal as the primary feed for its chickens. "We're closely monitoring grain prices and continue efforts to limit our exposure to price increases," said company spokesperson Gary Mickelson. "However, we believe higher corn prices will ultimately result in consumers paying more for chicken, since we'll be forced to raise our prices to offset the increase in input costs."
Rising feed costs might impact the expansion of U.S. chicken output, as well, and production estimates for the first quarter of 2011 have lowered slightly.