The UK poultry sector reported approximately 234 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) cases between October 2021 and early November 2022. The UK lost 40% of 1.4 million of free-range turkey flock to bird flu as of (October) 2022, according to the British Poultry Council. The outbreak this year has been far more devastating than last winter. Approximately 2.3 million poultry birds, including chicken, turkeys, ducks, and geese, have been culled in the current season, with UK turkeys being the most vulnerable to HPAI. Though this accounts for only a small proportion of the 20 million poultry birds weekly produced in the UK, it has reduced poultry supplies just before Christmas. The UK produces around 11 million turkey birds annually, of which approximately 65% are sold during Christmas. Consequently, the Mintec price for UK turkey (7.25-9kg) increased 12.5% month-on-month and 35.5% year-on-year (y-o-y) to GBP 6.3/kg on the 16th of November 2022.
The US monthly average price of turkey rose 29.1% y-o-y to $1.86/lb in mid-November on the back of a decline in turkey meat production amid the HPAI outbreak in the country. As a result, turkey production in Q3 2022 was 10% below Q3 2021. Between the 26th of August and the 7th of October, 1.79 million turkeys were lost to the second wave of HPAI. 7.15 million turkeys were lost because of HPAI between January and October 2022, which accounts for approximately 3.3% of average annual turkey production in the US. Consequently, US turkey supplies remain tight, leading to an increase in turkey prices. While production in 2022 (up to October) was well below typical levels because of HPAI, the storage data suggests that producers prioritised building up whole hen stocks in time for Thanksgiving. This could prevent prices from rising further during the Thanksgiving period. However, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the production losses due to HPAI are expected to continue for the rest of 2022 and H1 2023. As a result, US turkey prices will likely remain firm beyond Thanksgiving and into the first half of next year.