Canadian Poultry Magazine

Canadian poultry meat production drops for first time in decade

By Canadian Poultry magazine   

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In contrast, net egg production continues to increase.

Net egg production rose in 2020 while poultry meat production fell. Photo: Big Dutchman

According to newly released data from Statistics Canada, poultry farmers produced 1.5 billion kilograms of chicken, turkey and stewing hens in 2020.

That’s down 2.2 per cent compared with 2019, the first decline in the total weight of poultry birds produced in Canada in a decade.

Producers faced temporary closures of processing facilities and reduced demand from the food service industry as a result of the pandemic.


Nevertheless, sales of poultry meat held steady at $3.2 billion in 2020, as a result of higher producer prices.

Combined, Ontario and Quebec accounted for over half of chicken production and two-thirds of the turkey production in Canada in 2020.

Net egg production rose 2.1 per cent annually to 839.3 million dozen eggs in 2020 – the 16th consecutive annual increase.

Chicken continues to lead total poultry production
Pandemic-related disruptions to the poultry supply chain led to a decline in the total weight of chicken produced in 2020.

Mass closures in the restaurant and hospitality industries limited demand for chicken, while COVID-19 outbreaks at meat processing facilities limited supply.

As a result, the production of chickens, including stewing hens, declined 2.0 per cent from the previous year to 1.3 billion kilograms in 2020.

Despite the slowdowns, the total weight of chicken produced in 2020 nevertheless exceeded 2018 levels.

Chickens accounted for 89.2 per cent of total poultry production in 2020.

According to data on food availability, the per capita availability of turkey (-9.4 per cent) and beef (-9.7 per cent) declined from 2010 to 2019, while the per capita availability of chicken (+15.2 per cent) and pork (+0.4 per cent) was up.

Chicken prices have risen at a slower pace
Retail prices for stewing beef (+69.4 per cent) rose at a much faster pace than pork (+27.4 per cent) or chicken (+20.3 per cent) from 2010 to 2020.

The lower price increase for chicken compared with other popular meats may have contributed to greater consumer demand, which spurred chicken production and availability for consumption.

Ontario produces and sells the most poultry among the provinces
Ontario accounted for one-third or 440.1 million kilograms of the chicken (including stewing hen) produced in Canada in 2020, while Quebec accounted for just over one-quarter or 343.1 million kilograms.

These provinces were also responsible for most of the turkey produced in Canada in 2020, with Ontario producing 45.0 per cent or 71.2 million kilograms, and Quebec 21.1 per cent or 33.3 million kilograms.

Ontario’s sales of poultry meat accounted for one-third or $1.1 billion of total sales in 2020, while Quebec accounted for one-quarter or $826.0 million.

Newfoundland and Labrador farmers received the highest producer prices for chicken (including stewing hens) on average, at $2.43 per kilogram in 2020. In contrast, farmers in Ontario received the lowest prices ($2.11 per kilogram).

Farmers in British Columbia ($2.39 per kilogram) received the highest producer prices for their turkeys, while those in New Brunswick ($2.26 per kilogram) received the lowest prices.

Net egg production continues to increase
Canadian net egg production rose 2.1 per cent in 2020, and the total value of eggs produced rose 3.9 per cent to $1.6 billion.

As a result, the average value of eggs produced increased from $1.91 per dozen in 2019 to $1.94 per dozen in 2020.

The average value of eggs represents the total value of egg production divided by the net production of eggs.

The higher average value of eggs matches the increase in the monthly farm price of eggs.

In 2019, the monthly average price for eggs paid to farmers ranged from 153.5 cents to 163.2 cents per dozen. In 2020, the price ranged from 163.0 cents to 167.8 cents per dozen.

Retail egg prices rose 40.2 per cent from January 2010 to $3.66 per dozen in December 2020, making eggs less expensive than stewing beef ($15.82 per kilogram), pork chops ($11.71 per kilogram) or chicken ($7.64 per kilogram).

Annual per capita availability of eggs for consumption in Canada increased 30.9 per cent from 2010 to 15.24 kilograms in 2019.

The average price of eggs paid to producers rose in every province from 2019 to 2020.

Producers in British Columbia received the highest price for their eggs at $2.24 per dozen on average, up 2.3 per cent from 2019.

Producers in Prince Edward Island received the lowest price at $1.69 per dozen, up 4.7 per cent.

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