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Krissy Young (202) 690-8123


USDA Reports an Increase in the Average Weight of a Turkey


WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2005 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture today reports that turkeys throughout the United States have increased their average weight by 4 percent. According to the monthly Poultry Slaughter report, USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reported that the average weight of turkeys slaughtered in 2005 was 28.2 pounds, up from 27.2 pounds a year ago.

Historically, turkeys have increased in average weight annually for at least the past 40 years. The average weight has increased 57 percent since 1965, when turkeys averaged 18 pounds. Over the past decade alone, turkeys have averaged a 5-pound weight gain, from 23.2 pounds in 1995 to 28.2 pounds in 2005.

Turkey production in the United States is a multi-billion dollar industry. "During 2004, the value of turkey production in the United States totaled $3.07 billion," said R. Ronald Bosecker, NASS administrator. "This total was up 14 percent from the $2.7 billion reported in 2003."

Producers have also seen an increase in the price received for turkeys. In October, the average turkey price received by farmers was a record high 52.9 cents per pound, up 4.8 cents from a year earlier. Preliminary estimates by NASS reveal that 256 million turkeys will be raised in the United States during 2005, down 3 percent from last year. Two out of three of those turkeys are expected to come from six states: Minnesota with 44.5 million turkeys, North Carolina with 36 million, Arkansas with 29 million, Virginia with 21 million, Missouri with 20.5 million and California with 15.1 million turkeys.

To offer more easily accessible information on the Web, NASS recently added turkey statistics to the Quick Stats, Agricultural Statistics Data Base. To query turkey statistics for your state and the nation, visit Quick Stats at



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