Tyson Foods Inc. reported a smaller quarterly profit due to higher feed costs for its chickens and the company expects that business to post a loss in the current quarter.
Tyson, which produces beef, pork and chicken, has been unable to raise meat prices fast enough to offset higher costs. The price of corn fed to the chickens its raises more than doubled this year. And the price of cattle and hogs that it buys for its beef and pork plants are at record highs.
Operating income dropped in all three meat segments. The largest decline came from the chicken unit, which fell 85 per cent.
The largest U.S. meat processor earned $196-million (U.S.), or 51 cents per share, for the third quarter ended on July 2, compared with $248-million, or 65 cents a share, a year earlier.
Revenue rose to $8.25-billion from $7.44-billion.
Tyson is the largest U.S. chicken producer and, like its competitors, it has been hurt by high feed costs and weak chicken sales. Producers have been cutting production, but Tyson said that should not affect supplies until late in the current quarter.
``Because of these factors, we expect our chicken segment will likely experience a loss for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011," the company said.