by SUSAN MANN
There was 9.2 per cent less fresh chicken available for the Canadian market in January compared to the same month last year, according to Chicken Farmers of Canada’s recently released market trend numbers.
The amount of available fresh chicken was 93,024 million kilograms for the year to date ending Jan. 31. Last year for the same time period the amount was 102,438 million kilograms.
Production, imports and frozen chicken inventories were also down for the beginning of this year compared to the same time period last year. Production up to Jan. 31 was 82,458 million kilograms, 6.2 per cent less than last year’s figure of 87,948 million kilograms. Year-to-date imports up to Jan. 31 are 10,566 million kilograms, a decline of 27.1 per cent compared to last year’s number of 14,490 million kilograms.
Frozen chicken inventories on Feb. 1 were 30 million kilograms. That’s four million kilograms lower than on Feb. 1, 2011.
Jan Rus, Chicken Farmers manager of market information and systems, says they use a number of variables to calculate consumption, including frozen inventories, imports, production and exports. “With all these variables you can calculate the number that’s called disappearance or consumption. But it’s just an approximate number.”
In January, the domestic disappearance number was 88,689 million kilograms or 5.3 per cent lower than the 93,627 million kilograms for January 2011.
Rus says if supplies are down consistently over a long period of time consumption will drop. But if the demand is there the market will respond and farmers will produce more chicken.
Asked why there was less fresh chicken available in January 2012 compared to last January, Rus says this is only four weeks of numbers. “The shorter the time frame is that you measure things there will always be some anomalies in the numbers.”
On average, the Canadian live price in the quota period running from Jan. 29 to March 24 is eight cents a kilogram higher than in the same weeks of the previous year. Live prices are set within each province. For Ontario the live price for that quota period is $1.58 a kilogram, up from $1.50 a kilogram compared to the same weeks in 2011. BF