As Americans prepare for Thanksgiving, it’s probably not surprising that the number of available turkeys is lower than last year. Only 49.6 million pounds of turkeys remained in cold storage as of Monday, which a USDA report says is down 18 percent week-to-week.
At the end of August, when supplies are usually at their peak, they totaled more than 114 million pounds. An updated USDA report says while turkey production was expected to drop by seven percent, the amount of meat in storage rose one percent from the same point last year.
The last month new chicks can mature enough for Thanksgiving is August, and placements rose two percent higher than the five-year-average as producers attempted to make up for lost output because of avian influenza earlier this year. Since the end of August, inventories have steadily declined. Stocks in September dropped to just over 105 million pounds, nine percent above 2021.