By JACK WEATHERLY
Higher product prices and lower feed costs in a stable market enabled Sanderson Farms to record net income of $115.8 million, or $5.09 per share, for the third fiscal quarter, compared with $54.7 million, or $2.42 per share, a year earlier.
Joe F. Sanderson Jr., chairman and chief executive said in its report that retail grocery prices, especially meat produced at plants “that process a larger bird were all higher this year” compared with the corresponding 2016 quarter.
Prices for jumbo boneless breasts, leg quarters and wing prices were higher by 24.8 percent, 15.9 percent and 40.2 percent, respectively, according to the report.
Food service demand remained below pre-recession levels, but the popularity of chains, including those that specialize in wings, “are offsetting reduced traffic at casual dining restaurants.”
Meantime, the average feed cost per pound decreased 1.3 percent per pound, Sanderson said.
Laurel-based Sanderson Farms, the nation’s third-largest poultry processor, continues to expand.
The St. Pauls, N.C. processing plant is expected to reach full capacity in January.
The company has 12 processing plants located around the South, seven in Mississippi.
Construction of a $200 million processing plant, feed mill and hatchery in Tyler, Texas will start in September. At full capacity, the facilities will employ 1,700 and process 1.25 million birds per week.