(Bloomberg) -- Hurricane Michael is expected to whirl through areas of southern Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina that comprise 30 percent of the U.S. chicken market.
Preparations have already begun in Georgia, the No. 1 chicken-producing state, with companies closing down operations early and relocating birds, said Will Sawyer, an economist at CoBank. The core of Michael -- which made landfall on the Florida panhandle Wednesday afternoon -- is forecast to move across southeastern Alabama and southwestern Georgia on Wednesday evening, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.
“I would expect to see bird losses in south Georgia over the next 24 hours” due to flooding, Sawyer said by phone Wednesday.
While the storm may idle plants and disrupt supply chains, it likely won’t move the needle on low breast-meat prices, Sawyer said. Wholesale breast prices have fallen to a record low in U.S. Department of Agriculture data, creating price wars for chicken nuggets. The country is brimming with meat, including large supplies of beef and pork.
Tyson Foods Inc. and Sanderson Farms Inc. didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
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