The USDA is forecasting the number of turkeys raised in the United States to be 228 million, down 4 percent from the 237.5 million raised in 2014.
According to the agency’s Turkeys Raised Report, released on September 30, Minnesota, the largest turkey producing state, saw its production drop 12 percent from 45.5 million turkeys to 40 million. Other key turkey producing states expected to face losses are Arkansas, dropping 10 percent from 30 million to 27 million; Iowa, which could see production drop from 10.5 million to 8.4 million turkeys; and South Dakota, which has an anticipated production decline from 4.5 million turkeys to 4 million turkeys.
These numbers are impacted somewhat by the avian influenza outbreak of 2015. Not only was there a direct loss of birds to the disease, but also a number of breeders were lost in the outbreak. The impact of the breeder losses will continue to be seen in reduced slaughter numbers into the first half of 2016.
Despite the losses to avian influenza, several states, including North Carolina saw gains. According to the report, North Carolina is expected to surpass Arkansas as the second-largest turkey producing state in 2015. Its production is forecast to increase two percent from 28.5 million turkeys to 29 million. Other states projected to see gains include California, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Virginia.