Tyson Foods this week reported Q1 2024 earnings as its chicken segment produced $177 million in operating income on a 4.4 percent margin, both substantially up from a year ago.

Q4 2023 operating income for Tyson’s chicken segment was $69 million on a 1.6 percent margin. USDA projects chicken production will be flat in fiscal 2024 as compared to fiscal 2023. Tyson said it anticipated adjusted operating income of $500 million to $700 million for fiscal 2024.

Overall company sales for Q1 2024 were up slightly to $13.319 billion from $13.260 billion in Q4 2023. Cost of sales rose just over $200 million, bringing overall company gross profit down slightly from $968 million in Q4 2023 to $823 million in Q1 2024.

“We anticipate total company adjusted operating income of $1.0 billion to $1.5 billion for fiscal 2024,” the company said.

Tyson’s beef segment reported mixed results, with sales up to $5.023 billion from $4.723 billion a year prior on a 4.1 percent volume decrease, but an average price increase of 10.5 percent. USDA recently reported that the U.S. cattle inventory is the smallest it’s been in 73 years, driving up prices on low supplies. All these factors led to an operating loss in the beef segment of $206 million compared to operating income of $166 million in the segment a year prior.

The company’s pork segment reported slightly lower sales on higher volumes and lower prices, leading to an operating income of $39 million compared to a loss of $21 million a year ago, while the prepared foods segment was largely similar to the previous year.

International sales volume rose but prices were down, leading to lower overall sales.

“Our team executed well in the quarter and delivered tangible results, including our third sequential quarter of adjusted operating income growth,” Donnie King, President & CEO, Tyson Foods, said. “We saw the benefits of our diverse protein portfolio and realization of operational efficiencies from the strategic decisions we made in the past year.”

“Although we still have work to do, I am pleased with our first quarter results and am confident we are on the right path to deliver long-term shareholder value,” King said. “Going forward, we will continue to prioritize our liquidity and financial health, our focus on operational excellence, and our relentless pursuit to win with customers and consumers.”