Consumers Should See Good Prices on Poultry Meat, Eggs for the Holidays

Consumers are likely to find better prices on holiday turkeys, other poultry and eggs this year compared to previous years, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife expert and market data.

Dr. Craig Coufal, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service poultry specialist, College Station, said reasonable feed prices have helped keep egg and poultry prices lower than last year. The industry has also rebounded from outbreaks of avian flu that led to millions of chicken and other poultry losses, especially in egg production houses.

Coufal said demand for whole turkeys and eggs for baking typically peak around the holidays.

“Avian flu outbreaks in spring 2015 really tightened supplies, but this year has been good,” Coufal said. “Turkey was tight. Eggs were tight. But there’s plenty of poultry meat and eggs in the market as people begin to look for whole birds and eggs for pies, desserts and other traditional holiday cooking.”

Maro Ibarbaru, Egg Industry Center’s business analyst, Ames, Iowa, said a dozen large white eggs in the southern region cost $1.52 this September compared to $3.02 in September 2015. Avian influenza was the main reason for high prices in 2015, but he said prices have dipped even further due to other market conditions, such as lower costs for producers, more eggs in storage and a decline in exports.

“We haven’t seen prices this low since 2009,” he said.

Coufal said whole turkeys cooked in the oven are typically in low supply and demand until November and December. Most turkeys throughout the year are grown to 25-30 pounds and deboned to make deli meats, including pepperoni and salami. During the holidays, birds are typically grown to around 14 pounds to provide consumers with 9-10 pound birds for the oven.

“They don’t have a lot of smaller birds around,” he said. “They only do that once or twice a year.”

The Nov. 10 U.S. Department of Agriculture National Retail Report on turkey showed prices were steady between $1.59-$1.99 per pound for fresh whole hens and toms in the South Central Region, which includes Texas. By contrast, the Nov. 13, 2015 report showed whole fresh hens and toms were 10 cents higher per pound on average, $1.69-$1.99 per pound.

AgriLife Extension district summaries can be found here.

Source: Texas AgriLife Extension

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