LAUREL, Miss. – Sanderson Farms released figures for the second fiscal quarter and the last six months in its latest report on May 30.

For the most recent quarter that ended April 30, 2019, Sanderson Farms reported net income of $40.6 million, or $1.83 per share, compared with net income of $41.9 million, or $1.84 per share during the same period the previous year. Net income for the first half of the fiscal year was $22.8 million, or $1.03 per share, compared to $93 million, or $4.08 per share, for the first six months of 2018.

Net sales in the second quarter were $845.2 million, compared with $813.5 million for the same period in 2018. Six-month net sales for fiscal 2019 were $1,588.6 million compared to $1,585.4 million for the same time frame last year.

“Financial results for our second quarter of fiscal 2019 reflect higher feed costs per pound, continued favorable demand for poultry products from retail grocery store customers and a favorable export environment," said Joe F. Sanderson, Jr., chairman and CEO of Sanderson Farms Inc.

The company said market prices for chicken products sold to retail grocery store customers remained strong during the second quarter with good demand continuing.

Boneless breast meat prices were approximately 2.4 percent lower in the second quarter. The average market price for bulk leg quarters was also down roughly 7 percent.

However, jumbo wing prices were higher by 32.7 percent and chicken breast tenders averaged 4.4 percent higher than in 2018. 

“While market prices for boneless breast meat produced at our plants that target foodservice customers remained below historical averages for the period and averaged 2.4 percent below last year’s second fiscal quarter, they improved significantly compared to market prices during our first fiscal quarter of 2019,” Sanderson stated. 

“Market prices for jumbo wings reflected strong seasonal demand during the quarter, and values have held up well in May. Our average sales price per pound of fresh and frozen poultry increased 3.5 percent during the second quarter of this fiscal year compared with the same period last year and were higher by 0.6 percent through the first half of this fiscal year compared to the first half of last year.”

The company said it expects the prices for grain to be lower than the previous year. However, some weather challenges from the winter and spring could affect the markets this summer.

“While there are ample supplies of both corn and soybeans worldwide, a slow start to the United States planting season for 2019 corn and soybean crops due to the cold, wet spring in the United States grain belt has put upward pressure on market prices. Planting progress for corn stands at 58 percent this week, which is below the five-year average of 90 percent,” Sanderson added. “Only 29 percent of the soybean crop has been planted, versus a five-year average of 66 percent.”

The company also said that production during its third and fourth fiscal quarters of 2019 are expected to be up by 6 and 7.5 percent compared to the same quarter of 2018.

Sanderson also announced earlier this week that it would increase pay rates for the company’s hourly employees starting June 2. A company press release said that once the pay increase is established, hourly line operators who have been employed with Sanderson for at least 90 days will be compensated $15 per hour. Truck drivers for the company will be paid between $20.35 to $22.90 per hour and Sanderson maintenance employee pay will range from $19.95 to $27.45 per hour.