“Poultry can be improved on with genetics real quickly because of the short generation time, in 18 or 20 weeks you know, you can turn over a generation, so just simple selective genetics have brought it a long way.”
“Several years ago when I was showing we showed them at 11 weeks and they would run three and a half or four pounds a piece. Today, you know, at 45 days we’ve got 8 and 9 pound birds.”
Dale Hyatt is the manager of the poultry research farm at Texas A&M.
“The research that goes on here tries to key on breast meat yield. We’ve gone in the last 5 years from 16%, 18%, to over 20% now. We’ll continue to try and bring that up because that’s the high dollar cut of the bird, and that’s what the producer wants. That’s what the consumer wants.”
A lot of chicken is exported.
“We export a lot of dark meat actually. In the Asian countries, and in China, Russia, they buy a lot of dark meat and whole birds as well, but their more known export is for the leg quarters, dark meat type market.”
In 2006, the U.S. processed an estimated 9 billion broilers.
“Right now about 5 or 6 companies raise about 80% of the broilers that are consumed here in the United States, and we’ve got close to 90 pounds per capita consumption of chicken meat, so it’s the largest one.”
Independent farm chicken flocks disappeared long ago, but local farmers are still utilized as growers.
“You had the guy making feed, the guy hatching birds, the guy processing birds, the guys growing birds. Now this is all handled globally under one management, so you cut a lot of that middleman profit out, and it’s made a very inexpensive product, which in the old days, chicken was the high dollar food, that was the special occasion stuff.”
In fact, because of integrated production chicken is the cheapest it’s ever been.
“In real dollars, it costs about one half today to buy a pound of chicken than it did in 1965.”
The U.S. food supply… still the safest, cheapest, most abundant in the world. I’m Joe Brown, looking at Brazos Valley agriculture, From the Ground Up.