“We see demand for chicken jump about 10 percent every summer,” said Stan Savage,a poultry specialist with the University of Georgia Extension Service. “Fortunately, wecan plan for the increase.” “The poultry companies have to sell dark meat for whatever they can get for it,”Savage said “and grocers sell it for 49 to 59 cents a pound.” Savage said poultry follows the law of supply and demand almost to the letter — “asdemand rises, prices quickly rise, too.” If Georgia poultry companies couldn’t planahead for summer demand increases and grow more chickens, prices would nearlydouble. Companies prepare 10 to 12 weeks in advance for the summer demand increase. Theykeep more hens, which lay more eggs. Then they cut the time between flocks infarmers’ broiler houses statewide. “By cutting the down time between flocks from 10 days to just a week, we can supplymore birds,” he said. Georgia farmers produce 530 million pounds of broilers everymonth. In the summer, production rises to more than 584 million pounds. But that leaves a lot of dark meat that’s not in demand. Today’s broiler chickens areabout 60 percent white meat (breasts and wings) and 40 percent dark (legs, thighs andbacks). Ah, summertime! Lazy weekends, family picnics and chicken sizzling on the grill. And in an ironic economic twist, rising demand for white meat, especially the breast,can actually push down the price of dark meat. “You might see leg quarters on summer specials for as little as 29 or 39 cents apound,” he said. “All because U.S. consumers are willing to pay a little more for thewhite meat they prefer.” But processors’ loss on dark meat, he said, is offset by higher prices for white meat.Higher summer demand gently bumps up prices when the supply is tight. As farmers raise more chickens to meet the demand for white meat, there is also moredark meat to sell. That’s good news for leg-quarter lovers. In the United States, shoppers prefer white meat. It’s versatile, can be prepared veryquickly and is reasonably priced, Savage said.