Before you know it, Thanksgiving will be here, and we'll all be munching on a tasty Turkey.

And the even better news is that it will cost less this year compared to last year. 

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI)

HPAI has been a persistent challenge for poultry and egg farmers in the United States.

The H5N1 outbreak, which commenced in January 2022, cast a shadow over the industry for nearly 19 months, affecting approximately 59 million birds across both commercial and backyard flocks.

Turkey Supplies

Turkey supplies have rebounded since the onset of the HPAI outbreak.

Considering that it takes around 14 weeks for poults (young turkeys) placed on feed to be market-ready, they needed to be placed on feed in July to meet Thanksgiving demand.

As per the USDA's September 2023 Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook, turkey production in July 2023 amounted to 432.3 million pounds, marking a 9.7% increase from July 2022.

According to the USDA's annual Turkeys Raised report, approximately 219 million turkeys were raised in 2023, signifying a 4% increase from 2022 and a 1% rise above pre-HPAI outbreak levels in 2021.

This surge in turkey production, coupled with robust poults placement in May and June, suggests lower consumer prices ahead of Thanksgiving.

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Thanksgiving Turkey Prices and Demand

Turkey prices witnessed a substantial spike in 2022, primarily driven by inflation and HPAI-related supply disruptions.

Prices for an 8–16-pound, frozen, Grade A, whole young hen turkey surged to a record $1.72 per pound, a 20% increase from the preceding year.

These escalated prices, stemming from supply depletion due to HPAI, led to decreased demand, with USDA estimating a 2% reduction in per capita turkey demand in 2022, dropping from 14.9 pounds per person to 14.6 pounds per person.

In August 2023, the average price for the typical 8–16-pound Thanksgiving turkey was $1.27 per pound, marking a 22% decrease from August 2022.

The USDA's September 2023 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report anticipates a 6% increase in per capita turkey demand in 2023, in response to lower prices.

So there you have it; at least there's one thing that's gone down slightly in this crazy economy. 

Turkeys, Turkeys, Turkeys

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There are plenty of Halloween movies and Christmas movies galore, but what do you watch for Thanksgiving?
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Gallery Credit: Nancy Hall

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