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Poultry producers need consumers to eat more
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi poultry companies responded to low broiler prices during the first quarter of 2006 by reducing bird numbers, which may be the reason for slight market improvements in recent months.
Tim Chamblee, poultry specialist with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, said the number of birds slaughtered was down, but third quarter broiler meat production was up less than 1 percent from the year before. He attributed the total weight increase to the trend toward higher live weights.
“Mississippi has 7 percent fewer birds in production this year,” Chamblee said. “The low prices in early 2006 prompted companies to reduce bird numbers.”
Chamblee said whole bird prices averaged 68 cents per pound in August, which is 9 cents higher than the April report, but down 4.5 percent from 2005. Prices all year have been low.
“In August, leg quarters were 39 cents per pound, which is up more than 100 percent from April, but 15 percent below 2005. That just shows how low prices were earlier this year,” Chamblee said.
Boneless skinless breasts were $1.34 per pound in August, which was 37 cents per pound higher than in April. This product is showing a rare 1 percent increase over last year's prices.
Ed Scott, general manager of Cal-Maine in Edwards, said Mississippi's egg production levels are down slightly from last year. In response to Cal-Maine's animal husbandry program, the company has reduced bird numbers to increase space in cages. One result is an intentional decrease in egg supplies.
“We have just been at breakeven prices, and this is one way to find a more profitable situation,” Scott said. “Prices are averaging slightly higher than a year ago when prices were low because of overproduction.”
Scott said popular diets a few years ago pushed consumers toward eggs, but consumption has declined slightly as the eating fads faded in popularity.
Contact: Dr. Tim Chamblee, (662) 325-3374