Traditional holiday meals should be less expensive than last year’s record-high prices, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.
David Anderson, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension livestock marketing economist, Bryan-College Station, expects consumers to find lower prices on turkeys and other holiday baking items this season.
After the poultry industry lost almost 60 million birds last year to avian influenza, producers have bred more birds to have larger supplies of poultry at lower prices for the holiday season.
“Last week, prices were 50% lower than they were the same week at wholesale market prices a year ago,” Anderson said. “This allowed chances for specials and features at grocery stores.”
Grocery store specials and features
During the holidays, thousands of grocery stores typically run a feature or specials on holiday turkey.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a database of over 29,000 grocery stores across the U.S. that the USDA pulls data from to see how many stores are running specials and features on certain products.
“Two weeks ago, 35% of the stores had a special or feature on turkey,” Anderson said. “And last week, 56% of the stores in the database had some type of feature on turkey.”
Other holiday favorites
Prices for the “building blocks” of holiday dinner — potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, green beans, carrots and celery — are also lower than they were last year.
Household staple products such as eggs and milk are also lower than last year’s prices.
“Last year, egg prices reached up to $3.42 per dozen and milk reached $4.16 per gallon,” Anderson said. “This year egg prices are $2.07 and milk prices are $3.93.
“The only increase this year is on cranberries Last year, a 12-ounce bag of cranberries was $2.24, while this year they were priced at $2.29.”
“This year’s prices are pretty decent, we will be enjoying the lower prices on our holiday favorites.”
AgriLife Extension district reporters compiled the following summaries:
The weather was cooler over the past week, and isolated areas saw minimal rainfall. The recent rains continued to improve the soil moisture profile, but drier weather allowed winter wheat and other small grain crops to be planted. Hay baling was completed, and farmers prepared the land for later spring planting. The earlier planted grazing winter wheat and oats were looking excellent and in the tillering stage. The first fields of carinata were planted and emerged quite nicely. One county reported expecting 4,500 acres of carinata to be planted through the winter. This new crop was expected to fit the bill as a rotational broadleaf crop alternative to cotton. The small harvest from the spring produced respectable yields. There were isolated reports of armyworms and woolly caterpillars. Livestock were being supplemented and in fair to good body condition. Some livestock were grazing on early planted winter cereal forages. Some ranchers reported that round bales of Coastal Bermuda grass sold at $150 per roll. Beef cattle numbers were anticipated to decline further, reflecting high winter feed costs.
Winter wheat across the district continued to show an optimistic start going into the winter. In many counties, stocker calves were being put on wheat pasture. Calf health was an issue on fresh cattle that were being shipped in. Soil moisture levels were holding reasonably well, which helped prolong summer grasses in areas that did not get a hard freeze. Most livestock were supplemented with cubes and hay; however, hay will be in tight supply this winter. Across the district, nearly all cotton acres failed and thus were destroyed.
Rain fell across the district, with some counties receiving 1-5 inches. The rain halted fieldwork but allowed pastures and rangelands to green up. Pecan harvest continued as shucks opened on most improved varieties as well as native varieties. Producers were expecting a final cut of hay with better-than-average yields. Producers continued supplemental feeding herds.
Most producers began supplemental feeding due to a forage shortage. Cooler temperatures caused most hay meadows and pastures to go dormant. Winter pastures continued to grow, and producers continued to plant ryegrass. Livestock were in fair to good condition, with some supplementation taking place. The cattle market remained strong. Wild pig control was underway.
The area had cool mornings with lots of moisture in the mid-60s. Most of the cotton farmers in the district wrapped up harvesting. Several small rain showers last week and high humidity delayed the stripping of remaining cotton. Winter wheat that was planted early is in good condition. The later-planted wheat still needed moisture to help with emergence. The cattle were in good condition. Ranchers could still graze native pastures from this past summer, and some were already grazing winter wheat that was planted early.
The region continued to have very dry conditions. Corn harvest was completed in most counties. Most of the late sorghum and corn for silage were harvested. Additional precipitation was needed to boost the emergence and early growth of recently planted cover crops, including acres of winter wheat planted for forage, grain or dual-purpose use. Winter wheat plantings were ongoing, with some early planting being irrigated for pasture cattle. All dryland wheat suffered from lack of rainfall; only irrigated wheat had progressed. Pasture and rangelands were reported fair to very poor; subsoil and topsoil were mostly short to very short. Supplemental feeding of cows continued.
Topsoil and subsoil were reported as adequate to short for counties within the region. The pasture and rangelands were reported as fair to very poor for most counties in the region. Rainfall over the past week helped the crops. Temperatures remained pleasant over the past week, reaching the mid-70s during the day and 50s overnight. Forage quality was going down with cooler temperatures and wet weather. Winter pastures were looking good. Winter wheat and other cool-season grasses were planted and emerged across the region. Most producers were feeding hay due to early frost and drought that left us minimal forage in the later fall months. Livestock were doing well. There was no disease or insect outbreak reported in the region.
Daytime temperatures were in the mid-60s, with overnight temperatures in the upper-40s. The depletion of water availability in soils caused significant declines in crops and livestock productivity. In addition, surface and groundwater supplies declined during drought, affecting water availability and increasing costs to access water for crop or forage irrigation and watering livestock. Another shower rolled through on Monday, which delivered 0.4-2.75 inches throughout the region. Cotton harvest was nearing the end, with only a few acres left. Wheat planting resumed as well, and acreage was up. Emergence has been very good to this point. There are also a couple of late sorghum fields that were being harvested. Pecan farmers were waiting for a hard freeze before harvest; most Pawnee pecan farmers got caught with rainfall delaying harvest. Livestock was in fair condition. Hunters began to show up for deer season.
The district experienced temperatures in the low 60’s with cloudy and damp conditions. Recent rainfall allowed soil moisture conditions to improve. Fields were being plowed and planted with small grains, and previously planted fields were being fertilized. Cotton harvest continued, and producers applied defoliant. Pecans were dropping from their trees. Rangeland and pasture winter grasses improved. Supplemental feeding of livestock increased. Cattle prices remained high, and there was a strong demand for high-quality feeder calves at local sale barns.
A fair amount of rain fell over the district during the first part of the week. Mild temperatures continued to spur optimism of strong winter pastures, but cooler nighttime temperatures halted warm-season forage growth. Trees continued to progress into dormancy along with warm-season perennials. Cotton was almost completely harvested. The rice ratoon crop was finished. Calf prices continued to inch higher. Producers started feeding hay and continued supplemental feeding for their livestock.
Conditions across the district became more favorable. Peanut harvest was in full swing. Winter small grain crops were progressing with the recent moisture the district has received. Hay producers were able to cut and bale the last of their hay crop. Stock tanks have filled with recent rainfall. Rangeland and pastures were responding well and greening up with additional rainfall. Producers were supplementing livestock and wildlife. Cattle prices were consistent. Wildlife were active and hunting season was looking promising for all species.