March poultryproduction down slightly on the year

Poultry production during March 2009 was down modestly from March 2008. According to the USDA, the amount of poultry certifiedwholesome was 3.519 billion pounds, compared to 3.254 billion a year ago. The year to year decline is on the relatively high cost of feed and general global economic uncertainties. For the year to date, poultry production totals 10.101 billion pounds, compared to 10.847 billion for the first quarterof 2008.

Most of the total was chicken at 3.038 billion pounds, up 11 million pounds from March 2008. Turkeys made up 471.431 million pounds, compared to 486.994 million a year ago. Duck production during March was 9.518 million pounds, 4% less than last year.

The total live weight of all poultry came out at 4.708 billion pounds, compared to 4.739 billion for March 2008. The year to date total of 13.513 billion pounds is 7% less than this time last year. Most of the March 2008 total was chicken at 4.102 billion pounds, followed by turkeys at591.991 million and ducks at 13.312 million pounds.

The chicken slaughter for March totaled 738.743 million head, a little smaller than March 2008 with the year to date total 7% behind last year. March's turkey kill was 20.112 million head, compared to the March 2008total of 20.947 million. The duck slaughter was 1.982 million head, 3% less than a year ago.

The average live weight of all chickens was 5.55 pounds, a tenth of a pound less than last year. Turkeys averaged 29.43 pounds per bird, seven tenths of a pound heavier than a yearago. Ducks averaged 6.72 pounds, six tenths of a pound lighter than March 2008's average.

Ante-mortem condemnations of all poultry for March were 13.025 million pounds or .28% of the total live weight, down 16% and 15%, respectively, from March 2008. Post-mortemcondemnations were reported at 40.826 million pounds or 1.15% of the inspected total, which were decreases of 16% and 15%, respectively, on the year.

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