WASHINGTON – Although prices for most breast meat products increased in August compared with July levels, prices for these products continue to be well below their year-earlier levels, according to the latest Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook from the US Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service.

Wholesale prices for boneless/skinless breast meat in the Northeast market averaged $1.29 per lb. in August. Although up 9 cents from the July price, it is 36 cents (22 percent) lower than one year earlier. Prices for breasts with ribs and tenderloins have followed a similar pattern. Prices for leg-meat products are stronger than the previous year. Prices for leg quarters averaged $0.50 per lb. in August, up more than 5 cents from the previous month and 23 percent higher than in August 2010. Prices for other leg-meat products have also had strong gains compared with the previous year.

Whole thighs and boneless/skinless thigh meat prices are both more than 30 percent higher than one year earlier. Lower broiler-meat production in fourth quarter 2011 would normally be expected to place upward pressure on most broiler product prices. However, with a weak economy and relatively high cold-storage levels, it may take some time before significant price increases are seen, especially for breast meat products, the report concluded.