A new analysis from CoBank suggests consumers will see smaller and higher-priced turkeys this Thanksgiving season. After grappling with staff shortages, plant closures, and supply issues, the turkey industry has been hit by yet another problem in 2022: the worst Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza outbreak in U.S. history.
HPAI leads to the depopulation of birds, but is also impacting turkey size. The average slaughter weight is below the three-year average. However, there will be a sufficient number of birds.
Turkeys will be available, but they will be more expensive and probably a bit smaller than what home chefs are used to. Seasonal cold storage whole bird inventory volumes are at their lowest level since 2006.
Wholesale, frozen turkeys are currently selling in the $1.70 per pound range, about 30 percent higher than last year. Fresh, boneless breast meat is trading at $6.50 per pound, a 350 percent increase versus last fall.