WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Resurgence in the U.S. poultry industry, and the subsequent increased demand for feed, drove corn demand higher in February according to a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) said on March 27.

With broiler and young turkey slaughter up 3% and 7% over last year at this point respectively, the ProExporter Network estimates that U.S. poultry will consume more than 1.2 billion bushels of corn this marketing year, driving roughly 9.5% of total U.S. corn demand. Estimates of corn demand from poultry are almost 30 million bushels higher than 2010-11 marketing year.

“With all of the strong indicators coming from the dairy and animal ag sectors, it may seem repetitive, but sustained success in all sectors is crucial to a healthy agricultural economy,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer. “With the poultry, cattle, swine and dairy sectors all reporting evidence of positive trends, we see a strong future for corn with growing demand for the crop which we continue to produce at near-record levels while decreasing inputs such as fertilizer and chemicals.”

Despite a slight drop in broiler slaughter and chicken average live weights from January 2012, the industry appears stronger than it did at February’s end 2011 with slaughter 3% higher and comparatively higher average live weights. Since late in the fall of 2011, the broiler industry has undergone a significant reduction. This data seems to indicate a possible a return to an expansion phase.

Young turkey slaughter also rose by 7% over February of the prior year. When coupled with the positive turn in broiler trends, the early-stage improvements across the poultry sector, if sustained, could help ensure strong, stable demand for U.S. corn.