US meat giant Tyson Foods has seen third-quarter profits tumble as soaring feed costs drove its chicken unit into the red.

The company today (28 July) posted operating income of US$45m for the three months to 28 June - against $212m a year earlier.

The result included some $13m in charges due to flood damage to a plant in Wisconsin and impairment of unimproved real property in Tennessee but the key to the fall in profits was at Tyson's chicken business.

Tyson said it paid $140m more to feed its chickens than a year ago, which lead to the business posting a loss of $44m.

"The chicken segment remains under pressure from higher input costs, although we have been able to offset some losses through pricing and risk management activities," president and CEO Dick Bond said.

Tyson's beef business remained in the black but profits fell from $36m last year to $3m due to losses of $75m from cattle hedging.

Pork profits rose, reaching $54m from $37m a year earlier thanks to lower hog prices and an increase in pork sale prices.

Group turnover inched up 3.5% to $6.8bn.