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Butterball warns of fresh, large turkeys may be in short supply

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

GARNER, N.C., Nov. 18 (UPI) -- North Carolina turkey manufacturer Butterball said the Thanksgiving season may suffer a shortage of big, fresh turkeys at U.S. retailers.


The company said the supply of fresh turkeys over 16 pounds might come up short in the lead-up to the Nov. 28 holiday due to a difficulty among some farmers in getting this year's turkeys to put on enough weight, CNN reported Monday.


Butterball said the problem affects only the supply of fresh turkeys and the company's frozen turkeys will not be affected.


"Butterball and its retail partners have ample supply of frozen whole turkeys of all sizes -- small, medium or large," the company said in a statement. "While there may be limited availability on some larger sizes of fresh turkeys, Butterball has shipped 100 percent of customer orders of frozen whole turkeys and products are in distribution across the country. We experienced a decline in weight gains on some of our farms causing a limited availability of large, fresh turkeys.


"While we are continuing to evaluate all potential causes, we are working to remedy the issue. We sincerely regret the inconvenience that some of our customers have experienced as a result of this issue."

post #2 of 6
Trying to drive up prices
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

No doubt, if I as having a fresh turkey for Thanksgiving, I would have secured my bird long before Thanksgiving. I did read last year though that the heritage turkey market had such a demand, and sold out last year and this years futures were nearly all sold. That was last year.


Free range heritage birds are becoming the market driver. People are not liking GM and/or enhanced foods.


I actually thought about buying some eggs or chicks, I have a whole empty chicken yard. Then I thought about plucking 'em and talked my self right out of turkeys. Killed and plucked 50 chickens one day, learned a valuable life lesson....LOL

post #4 of 6

I guess it is a disaster?


13 lbs is about the perfect smoking turkey?


Guess I won't get a 20 pounder?


Think the sky might be falling?


Good luck and good smoking.

post #5 of 6

Speculation from MotherJones site. …..Abbreviated 


Is it the (lack of) ractopamine, ? Ractopamine, a drug that mimics stress hormones in animals but makes them pack on lean weight rapidly, is a popular feed additive on factory-scale US farms.


Is it the pricey corn? The main feed for industrial turkey is corn—and corn prices have been high for the last half decade, and spiked last year because of the Midwestern drought. In testimony before the House of Representatives this year, National Turkey Federation president Joel Brandenberger complained  about the high price of corn, declaring it "the primary reason one turkey company went bankrupt in 2012 and why the industry already has lost 750 jobs in the last 12 months."


Are the FDA's new, voluntary antibiotics rules having an effect? When the Food and Drug Administration released  guidance  requesting that the meat industry stop using daily small doses of antibiotics as a growth enhancer last year, I and many other observers mocked the move: first because it was voluntary, and second because the guidelines left a massive loophole in place that could negate any actual cutback.But what if Butterball is taking the FDA's guidance to heart—and it's causing slower growth among its birds? You'd think the company would crow like a tom turkey if it had made such a change. Again, the company had no comment.


is it all just a hoax? Time's Laura Stampler said the simplest, most elegant explanation: The great big-turkey shortfall of Thanksgiving '13 is a "marketing ploy to build turkey hype." Think about it. Say you made your living selling a product that Americans were consuming less and less of.

post #6 of 6





Couldn't imagine why corn is higher now?


Or why food and meat in particular are increasing at twice the price of overall inflation?  If you can believe any of the figures they give us?  Or why the prices of food and real estate are excluded from many of their inflation figures?




Well, we know what we see at the store?


Still a mystery why one turkey producer is experiencing this problem while others are not? Or are others afraid to report it?


Should we pass gas?  Or give gas a pass?  Or just accept it?


Good luck and good smoking.

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