April 5, 2021

US storms in first quarter severely curtail poultry production


Winter storms Uri and Viola have severely impacted the southern central United States in the first quarter of 2021, causing significant consequences for domestic poultry production.


The storms, which included record-breaking cold temperatures, caused widespread power outages in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma, and domestic and international transportation networks were also affected. In the poultry sector, hatching operations, chicken farming and processing plants were all severely affected by the storms, with a lasting effect on broiler production.


According to the United States Department of Agriculture's monthly Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook published in mid-March, the impact of the storm has surfaced in both broiler slaughter data as well as hatchery data. For the week ending 20 February 2021 – the height of the storm – preliminary broiler slaughter data indicates a 43.9% year-on-year decrease in broiler processing volumes. In addition, eggs set and chick placement data indicates fewer birds available for slaughter, likely into April.


The report estimated that broiler meat production would be 45,000 tonnes lower in the first half of this year.


Turkey production was also affected by the "extreme winter weather in the third week of February," said the USDA, lowering its forecast of production by 1% for the year.


Meanwhile, Sanderson Farms had activated its crisis management plan. The company euthanised 545,000 chicks at Texas hatcheries, including 100,000 in Waco, during the storm that forced it to close the Waco processing plant for five days, according to the Waco Tribune-Herald.


- Poultry World