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Tighter turkey supplies likely later in 2024

March turkey hatchery numbers are pointing towards a tighter supply later this year.

The USDA says the number of turkey eggs in incubation at the start of April were down 2% on the month and 9% on the year at 24.139 million, that, which once hatched, will head to facilities for raising throughout the month.

The number of poults hatched during March 2024 were 7% more than in February, but 8% less than March 2023 at 21.67 million head, while the number of poults placed into meat production were 9% above the previous month, but 8% below a year ago at 20.145 million head.

The turnaround time from placements to processing ranges from 15 to 22 weeks for standard turkeys to as much as 30 weeks for heritage breeds.

The USDA projects 2024 turkey production at 5.4 billion pounds.

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