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Broilers & Layers
0711PIjapan_1(1).jpg
on July 1, 2009

Japan’s broiler recovery continues

State of the Japanese industry improves but only slowly while producers are hit by low prices.

Increasing broiler slaughter weights has enabled Japan to expand meat output every year since 2000 production although it remains below the level achieved in 1990.

Number of farms and total output

Production from the 3065 broiler farms in Japan expanded by 2.5% during 2006 to total 621.82 million birds. The total liveweight amounted to 1.75 million tonnes (mt) up 2.8% as the average liveweight/bird increased to 2.815kg. Since slaughterings fell to a low' of 567.9 million in 2001, the industry has made a recovery, although production remains well below the 1990 level of 708.3 million birds (Table 1).

There are now just half the number of the 5940 broiler farms in 1990. However, the average number of birds grown on each farm has increased by 70%, from just over 119,000 in 1990 to almost 203,000 last year.

The average liveweight has grown annually from just 2.56kg/bird back in 1990.

Approximately 6% of production goes to KFC Japan outlets. The remainder are further processed into de-boned meat, and the average liveweight for these larger birds is close to 3kg.

Average cost of production

Table 2 shows that average production cost per bird is 401 Japanese yen (JPY; USD3.49), or a cost per kilogramme liveweight of JPY134 (USD1.17) for a typical 3kg bird. The proportion of edible meat is just 50% (Table 3).

Production systems and wholesale prices

Three categories of meat birds are produced. Conventional commercial broilers make up the largest category. They represent 62.3% of output with an average liveweight of around 2.84kg.

The second group, defined as branded broilers', accounts for more than 35% of all birds. They are usually Red Cornish crossbreds, which are fed special all-vegetable diets fortified with vitamins, minerals and herbs. Birds are grown for up to 60 days of age. The increase in domestic chicken meat production since 2001 has come largely from the growth in this sector.

The last category comprises indigenous chickens, which represent around 2.2% of all slaughterings. They come from a variety of breeds including Japanese Game crossbreds such as Shamo with Rhode Island Reds, or Barred or White Plymouth Rocks and purebred Nagoya Cochin. These birds are reared from 120-160 days, with an overall average liveweight of around 2.78kg.

An indication of the large differences in the value of the meat produced by the three categories of meat chicken is given by the wholesale prices paid by major first receivers for breast meat and leg meat in Tokyo. Over the year, breast meat from commercial broilers wholesaled for JPY204/kg with the more highly prized leg meat making JPY541/kg. Costs of breast and leg from branded broilers were JPY488 and JPY857/kg, respectively. The small quantities of breast and leg meat from indigenous birds realised JPY1833 and JPY2162/kg, respectively.

0711PIjapan_chart1 0711PIjapan_chart2 

Chicken meat consumption, trade and price pressures

About 1.2 million restaurants and other prepared food eating outlets purchase 60% of output, while just 30% is consumed in the home and 10% goes to food manufacturers.

During the year, Japan imported some 370,672 tonnes (t) of raw chickenmeat, of which 91% came from Brazil and 7% from the USA. Imports of prepared (cooked) chicken products amounted to 344,985t, with China supplying 56% and Thailand 43% in the form of prepared products such as fried chicken, yakatori, kebabs and brochette.

Between 2002 and 2006, the wholesale price for leg meat declined each year from JPY653 to JPY552/kg. Retail prices showed little change during this period so retail margin rose from JPY597 in 2002 to JPY678/kg last year when, according to government statistics, the consumer prices for chicken leg meat averaged JPY1230/kg.

However, in January this year, the producer price for fresh chickenmeat averaged just JPY552/kg, which represented just 32% of the retail price. At that time, the wholesale margin was just JPY79 (or 4.6%) of the retail value of JPY631/kg. At the same time, the retail margin had increased to a massive JPY1087 (63%), putting the average retail value at some JPY1718/kg.

Data for this article was taken from a survey conducted by Professor Tooru Komai in conjunction with the Japan Chicken Association

of meat chicken is given by the wholesale prices paid by major first receivers for breast meat and leg meat in Tokyo. Over the year, breast meat from commercial broilers wholesaled for JPY204/kg with the more highly prized leg meat making JPY541/kg. Costs of breast and leg from branded broilers were JPY488 and JPY857/kg, respectively. The small quantities of breast and leg meat from indigenous birds realised JPY1833 and JPY2162/kg, respectively.

0711PIjapan_chart3 

Chicken meat consumption, trade and price pressures

About 1.2 million restaurants and other prepared food eating outlets purchase 60% of output, while just 30% is consumed in the home and 10% goes to food manufacturers.

During the year, Japan imported some 370,672 tonnes (t) of raw chickenmeat, of which 91% came from Brazil and 7% from the USA. Imports of prepared (cooked) chicken products amounted to 344,985t, with China supplying 56% and Thailand 43% in the form of prepared products such as fried chicken, yakatori, kebabs and brochette.

Between 2002 and 2006, the wholesale price for leg meat declined each year from JPY653 to JPY552/kg. Retail prices showed little change during this period so retail margin rose from JPY597 in 2002 to JPY678/kg last year when, according to government statistics, the consumer prices for chicken leg meat averaged JPY1230/kg.

However, in January this year, the producer price for fresh chickenmeat averaged just JPY552/kg, which represented just 32% of the retail price. At that time, the wholesale margin was just JPY79 (or 4.6%) of the retail value of JPY631/kg. At the same time, the retail margin had increased to a massive JPY1087 (63%), putting the average retail value at some JPY1718/kg.

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