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Texas Crop and Weather Report: Record 1.45 billion wings, drumsticks to be eaten around the big game

Adam Russell, AgriLife media

February 10, 2023

7 Min Read
wings-chicken-super-bowl
Chicken wings are a go-to snack food for Super Bowl festivities. Lower prices could be an incentive for football fans to eat their part of the 1.45 billion wings expected to be consumed during the Super Bowl week.Laura McKenzie

Football fans can expect lower prices on chicken wings this year as another consumption record is expected around Super Bowl LVII, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.

The National Chicken Council estimates 1.45 billion chicken wings and drumsticks will be consumed during the week leading up to the football game for the Lombardi Trophy between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles. The record consumption estimate is 2%, or 84 million wings, higher than last year,   

Chicken wings and drumsticks have become a favorite snack for sports fans during Super Bowl week, and David Anderson, AgriLife Extension economist, Bryan-College Station, doesn’t expect that long-term trend to change.

When it comes to Super Bowl Sunday, Anderson said most consumers focus their purchases on snack foods like chips and dips, hot wings and pizza.

“Chicken wings are here to stay,” he said. “They’ve emerged from an afterthought cut of meat to a high value cut, and their popularity continues to be trending upward. I don’t see that changing.”

Chicken wings lead way for lower prices

Anderson said chicken wing lovers will be happy to hear wholesale prices are down significantly compared to record highs last year. Wholesale wing prices are $1.25 per pound compared to $2.66 per pound leading into the Super Bowl last year, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Services report.

Retail prices for wings are also down, according to the USDA’s retail poultry report. Whole wings are $3.30 per pound compared to $3.80 per pound last year; and party pack wings are $2.25 per pound compared to $3.13 per pound at retail.

Anderson said the price decline appears to be a direct result of supply and demand market forces. Historically high prices in 2022 on all cuts likely drove consumers to other meat options. At the same time, profitable prices on all cuts encouraged more production, which increased each month starting in August.

Wing demand began falling even sooner than other chicken cuts as record high prices turned consumers away. High costs led restaurants that specialized in wings to begin offering other cuts like thighs to maintain retail price points acceptable to consumers.  

“Wing prices declined in 2022 and declined fast,” he said. “The high cost led to consumer resistance to buying them. So, that drop in demand and rise in production led to lower prices.”

Wings in cold storage were also up to 82.3 million pounds in December compared to 74.1 million pounds at the same time in 2022. The cold storage supply is at the highest point since 2018 and likely another factor in lower wing prices.  

AgriLife Extension district reporters compiled the following summaries:

CENTRAL

Winter weather hit the area hard, with up to 1.5 inches of freezing rain and sleet. Soil moisture levels were adequate, but rangeland and pasture conditions remained very poor. Icy conditions made travel difficult and were hard on livestock. Supplemental feeding continued and hay supplies were very low. Ice caused widespread damage to trees. Fieldwork was halted due to weather, but producers hope the moisture will help fields for upcoming planting. Temperatures were not low enough long enough to damage wheat and oats.

ROLLING PLAINS

Winter weather brought freezing temperatures, ice, sleet and rain. Fieldwork halted. Precipitation varied widely with most areas reporting very little accumulation up to 2 inches. The moisture was expected to benefit wheat, which was mostly poor to good with some excellent fields reported. Stocker cattle were still struggling to maintain good health following inconsistent temperatures and weather. Hay supplies were extremely short in some areas, and livestock received heavy amounts of supplemental feed during the winter weather. Some producers were expecting to turn cattle out on wheat soon.

COASTAL BEND

Most of the reporting area received rainfall ranging from scattered heavy showers to light drizzle. Soil moisture improved significantly with wet conditions delaying most field activity. Producers prepared for planting where they could, with some taking in seed corn for planting, which should begin once fields dry. There were some signs of greening in pastures and mesquite trees starting to leaf out. Winter pastures were producing well. Winter annuals and some warm-season grasses were growing and being grazed. Some producers were feeding hay and protein on a regular basis. Warmer sunny days were expected to improve pasture conditions. Livestock remained in fair to good condition despite the recent cold weather. Cattle prices were steady to higher.

EAST

Days of continuous rain and freezing rain saturated pastures and hay meadows. Some areas were left with standing water. One county reported up to 9 inches of rain and flooding. Ponds and creeks were full. Pasture and rangeland conditions were poor to fair. Subsoil and topsoil conditions were surplus. Temperatures were very cold. Warmer weather before the freeze caused some trees and warm-season grasses to break dormancy. Freezing temperatures were expected to set back green-up. Livestock were in fair condition with supplemental feeding. Hay supplies continued to run very low. 

SOUTH PLAINS

Subsoil and topsoil moisture levels improved due to the recent winter mix. Producers were prepping for the current crop year. Cattle were in good condition.

PANHANDLE

Soil moisture was very short to short. The moisture received from the recent snow was minimal. Farming activity was at a minimum with some spring pre-plant preparations and fallow tillage. Moisture was needed for spring plantings. Rangeland and pasture conditions were very poor to poor. Cattle diets on rangeland were being supplemented.  

NORTH

Soil moisture was short to adequate across the district. Temperatures dropped and rain, snow and sleet delivered moisture. Wheat looked fair to good after the cold temperatures. Producers were preparing for spring planting. Hay was in short supply. Livestock experienced some body condition loss due to low-quality hay. Spring calving was underway.

WEST CENTRAL

The district reported sleet, snow and temperatures below freezing for more than three days. Wheat continued to look good, and pastures continued to green up. Oats were brown and did not appear to be recovering from cold weather in December. Local sale barns closed due to the ice storm. Ranchers struggled to feed livestock due to the ice and slick roads.

SOUTHEAST

Counties received up to 4 inches of moisture, and water was standing in many fields. Conditions were icy some days. Livestock were in good condition and continued to receive supplemental hay and feed. Livestock markets reported lower sale volumes and softer calf prices. Packer cow and bull prices were up slightly. Rangeland and pasture conditions were fair, and winter forages looked good. Most fields and pastures were soggy. Ponds and bayous were full. Rains were expected to possibly delay rice planting. 

SOUTHWEST

Temperatures were colder and trace amounts to half an inch of wintery mix was reported. Winter storm damage from heavy ice was limited to trees, downed power lines and occasional lane blockages. Irrigated wheat and oat crops continued to look good. The moisture should help spring planting. Cattle prices were steady at sale barns. Producers provided heavy rations of supplemental feed for both livestock and wildlife. Gardeners were preparing for spring planting. Warmer temperatures were in the forecast.

SOUTH

Soil moisture levels ranged from very short to adequate. Conditions were cold and wet. Areas received trace amounts of rain up to 1.3 inches. Temperatures remained above freezing. The moisture was expected to help rangeland and pasture conditions. Supplemental feeding continued for livestock. Some pastures looked overgrazed, and producers were culling their herds. Livestock markets remained steady. Ranchers reported sick and weak calves as well as several deaths. Irrigated winter wheat and oats looked fair to good, and dryland winter forages were in poor to good shape. Fields were being prepared for spring planting. Native black bush was blooming. Overall, rangeland and pasture conditions were very poor to fair. Feed prices were high, and hay supplies were tight with most hay producers sold out of bales. Spinach and other winter vegetables were in good condition. Temperatures were rising after the cold front. Winter vegetable, citrus and sugarcane harvests continued. Some farmers began planting corn and sunflowers with grain sorghum expected to follow. Irrigation allocations were a concern for producers.

Source: Texas A&M AgriLife, AgriLife Today

About the Author(s)

Adam Russell

AgriLife media, Texas AgriLife

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