Thanksgiving is on its way and that brings concerns about whether there will be a turkey at the supermarket. This post takes historical data on turkey production from the USDA to see what the turkey market is like.
The first thing to note is that exports of turkey are up as a percentage of total production. About 8 percent of US production is exported:
The total supply (less exports) has stabilized since the early 90's and there seems to be a long run periodic cycle layered on top of the usual seasonal cycles. However, if we look a bit closer at the data we can see that there are some significant changes over the past 3 decades:
It appears we are consuming less turkey during the fourth quarter, basically our turkeys are getting smaller (the graph is similar for the full turkey). The comparison of summer to winter tells us that this isn't a general phenomenon, it really is only the Thanksgiving/Christmas boom that appears to exhibit a reduction in quantity.
Bottom line, I think our thanksgivings are including a lot more fixings than they used, which I very much appreciate.