Fresh and frozen poultry processorCagle's, Inc., Atlanta, said it will discontinue second shift operations at its Pine Mountain Valley, Ga., poultry plant in mid August. Officials said lay-off will result in the loss of approximately 300 positions.

Officials said Pine Mountain processes 520,000 head per week and employs 640 workers. Cagle's converted the site to a deboning operation in May 2010, at which time it was processing 630,000 head per week.

Cagle's noted that feed prices increased more than 34 percent last fall -- due to corn prices, which were up more than 75 percent versus the year before.  In addition, boneless breast markets experienced a downturn of over 10 percent as compared to the same period last year. As a result of the higher feed cost and lower boneless markets, effective November 2010 the Pine Mountain plant volume was reduced twenty percent to operating two shifts four days per week.

With this layoff, Cagle's said it expects to operate one full shift five days per week processing 320,000 head and improving the weekly take home pay of its remaining employees.

Cagle's operates a second processing location in Collinsville, Ala., according to the company's web site.