LAUREL, Miss. – Sanderson Farms Inc. reported declines in net income and net sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2019.

The poultry processor reported a net loss of $17,833,000, or $0.82 per diluted share, for the first quarter ended Jan. 31, 2019, compared with net income of $51,206,000, or $2.24 per diluted share, reported in the first quarter a year ago. Net income for the first fiscal quarter of 2018 reflected a one-time non-cash tax benefit of $37.5 million from an adjustment to Sanderson Farms’ deferred income tax liability, which resulted from a lower tax rate under the December 2017 federal tax legislation, the company noted.

Net sales for the period were $743,388,000, down from $771,948,000 in the first quarter of 2018.

Boneless breast meat prices were approximately 7.6 percent lower, while bulk leg quarter prices dropped 23.7 percent, according to the company. Prices for jumbo wings fell 4.7 percent, however the company’s retail tray pack prices were approximately 1.4 percent higher.

“Our results for the first quarter reflect continued challenging market conditions with significantly lower market prices for boneless breast meat produced at our big bird deboning plants compared with last year’s first quarter,” said Joe F. Sanderson, Jr., chairman and CEO of Sanderson Farms. “However, average prices for tray pack products sold to retail grocery store customers were higher both sequentially and when compared with the same period a year ago, and prices continue to reflect a good supply and demand balance.

“Demand and prices for jumbo wings strengthened seasonally during the quarter, but market prices still averaged below last year’s first quarter,” Sanderson added. “Despite the challenging market price compared with last year’s first quarter, market prices for boneless breast meat rose from record lows during January and are now higher than this time a year ago.”

Sanderson noted that good corn and soybean crops last fall “…contributed to a very healthy soybean balance table heading into the 2019 planting season…” and an adequate supply of corn.

“Uncertainties regarding trade with China, however, have provided price support for both corn and soybeans despite ample supplies of both grains, especially soy beans,” Sanderson added. “Had we priced all of our grain needs for fiscal 2019 at yesterday’s Chicago Board of Trade futures contract prices, cash paid for feed grains during fiscal 2019 on fiscal 2018 volumes would be $26.4 million lower than during fiscal 2018.”

Updating the status of the company’s new processing facility in Tyler, Texas, Sanderson start-up has gone well.

“We expect to move to full production by the first calendar quarter of 2020, and we look forward to the opportunities the plant represents,” he said.