Broiler production in 2012 is now estimated to be 35.714 billion pounds, 395 million pounds less than last month’s estimate and 2.9 percent under the 36.778 billion pounds new estimated for 2011, according to USDA’s “World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate” report yesterday from the World Agricultural Outlook Board. In addition to trimming its outlook for 2012 broiler production, analysts also reduced the 2011 output by 66 million pounds.  Lower expected broiler weights are prompting the reduced outlook, and hatchery data continues to point toward fewer birds for slaughter during most of 2012.

Broiler production was the only meat adjusted downward, as the board sees slightly more beef, pork, and turkey when compared with last month’s estimate for 2012.  However, the shift increase in other meats will not likely offset the decrease in broiler production.  So, total poultry and meat production this year is likely to be 90.772 million pounds, 198 million pounds less than last month’s estimate and 1.8 percent less than the 92.395 million pounds new reported for 2011.

Estimated broiler exports were increased for both 2011 and 2012.  Exports for last year were put at 7.012 billion pounds, up 50 million pounds from the January estimate and 3.7 percent over the 6.765 billion pounds in 2010.  For 2012, the board also upped broiler exports by 50 million pounds to 7.050 billion pounds, a 0.5 percent increase from the 2011 level.

The wholesale broiler price, 12-city average, for 2011 was reported at 79.0 cents per pound, unchanged from the January estimate and 2.2 cents per pound or 2.9 percent higher than the 76.8 cents per pound in 2010.  With the reduced broiler production, analysts see better broiler prices this year compared with last month’s estimate and last year’s price.  USDA now expects the broiler price to average between 82-87 cents per pound in 2012, compared with 80-86 cents per pound in last month’s report.