Turkey Production Down, Wholesale Prices Up

Butterball turkey
Posted at 3:10 AM, Nov 18, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-18 03:10:00-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - U.S. farmers produced the lowest number of turkeys in nearly three decades this year and wholesale prices are at an all-time high, but Thanksgiving cooks aren't likely to see a difference in what they pay for their frozen birds.

The federal National Agricultural Statistics Service says this year's anticipated turkey stock is 235 million birds, the fewest since farmers raised 207 million birds in 1986.

Farmers say high corn prices after the 2012 drought forced them to scale back their turkey numbers to remain afloat, and that the impact of this year's record corn harvest likely won't be seen until next year.

The good news for consumers is that grocery stores typically take a loss on turkeys to woo shoppers, who will purchase other items for their holiday feasts there.