China Lifts Five-Year Ban On US Poultry Meat

On Nov. 14, Chinese officials lifted the ban on US poultry meat, a move that was called “a significant positive signal for the US broiler industry” by the USDA’s Economic Research Service in its monthly Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook.

The development should be helpful to US producers who have been ramping up production, despite relatively weak prices and challenges in key export markets, the report said.  October broiler production totaled 4.096 billion pounds, a year-over-year increase of 4.8%—comprised of a 3.5% increase in slaughter and a 1.3% increase in average bird weights.

China’s ban had been in effect since December 2014 because of a US outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza.

Although the US has been free of HPAI since 2017, China’s ban remained in place.  Prior to the ban, China had been a major buyer of US chicken paws and wing tips, which generally are not consumed in the US, as well as legs and leg quarters and broiler meat categorized as “other,” the ERS said.

Since the ban, the US industry has been rendering the chicken paws for pet food and fertilizer at a significant discount, the report said.

Preliminary weekly slaughter data along with eggs set and chick placement data suggest higher slaughter volumes and more birds available for slaughter in November and December, the ERS said.  As a result, the fourth-quarter broiler production forecast was increased to 11.125 billion pounds from 11.025 billion a month ago.




Looking to 2020, various indicators suggest plans for expanded production, the ERS said.  The broiler-breeder-layer flock averaged 58.4 million in October, a 1.5% increase over last year and is on track to exceed year-earlier inventories in the beginning of 2020.

Furthermore, US pullet placements point to producer intentions to continue expanding the layer flock at least into the second quarter, the report said.  Increased exports resulting from China’s reopening likely will help support producer margins, providing further incentives to expand production.

Based on expectations for a larger total flock, the 2020 broiler production forecast was increased 3.2% from last year to 45.250 billion pounds.




With regard to exports, broiler export volumes for October were estimated at nearly 651 million pounds, a year-over-year decrease of 2.6%, the ERS said.  US exports to Cuba decreased significantly in October by more than 17.5 million pounds relative to last year.

This decrease likely reflects the effects of Cuban foreign exchange shortages; to the extent that these continue, US broiler exports to Cuba could remain relatively low, the report said.  However, this decline was offset partially by increased shipments to several other markets, including Vietnam (+13.9 million pounds), Taiwan (+7.7 million pounds) and Mexico (+7.4 million pounds).




Cash cattle trading was reported last week at $120 to $121 per cwt on a live basis, with a few up to $122.50 late, mostly up $0.50 to $2 from the previous week.  Dressed-basis trading was seen at $192 per cwt, up $2 to $4.

The USDA choice cutout Thursday was down $1.42 per cwt at $210.15, while select was up $0.61 at $205.25.  The choice/select spread narrowed to $4.90 from $6.93 with 157 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

No new deliveries were tendered against the Dec live cattle futures contract on Wednesday.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Wednesday was $145.81 per cwt, down $0.12 from the previous day.  This compares with Thursday’s Jan contract settlement of $145.45, up $1.87.