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Chicken live weights trending lower

Plants decreasing bird weights to address quality issues.

Since the start of this year, average chicken live weights have trended lower, albeit slightly, Urner Barry analyst Terrence Wells said.

Wells said several sources have reported that bird performance has not been as strong as anticipated. Additionally, some plants have already made adjustments or are considering decreasing weights in an attempt to address quality issues like woody breast. In fact, he said year-to-date average live weights are slightly lower than last year.

U.S. Department of Agriculture data show that weights have continued to trend lower in the jumbo bird category (7.76 lb. and up). During January, jumbo birds averaged 9.26 lb. Since the start of February, that same size category has averaged 9.20 lb. per bird. A recent slaughter report revealed an average weight of 9.12 lb.

“The market impact is also quite visible; supplies are tight at most points of sale, and values are fully supported or trending higher,” Wells said.

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