Consumers are expected to have more meat to eat this year as red meat and poultry production rise and exports decline.
The USDA’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report Monday showed beef and pork production are expected to rise this year. Pork production is expected to surpass beef for the first time ever as farrowings, or birthings, and litter efficiencies produce more pigs.
The USDA forecast total 2015 red meat production at 47.963 billion pounds, up 613 million, or 1.29%, from 2014’s 47.350 billion. Of this, 23.83 billion was expected to be beef and 23.895 billion was expected to be pork.
The 2014 beef production estimate was reduced because of a lower-than-expected fourth-quarter slaughter rate. Beef production is expected to be down again in the first quarter of 2015 but expand to its highest level of the year, 6.225 billion pounds, in the second quarter.
Slaughter was expected to pick up in 2015 as calves from heifers retained for breeding early in 2014 become ready for slaughter late this year. However, overall beef production is expected to struggle a bit as the USDA expected lower slaughter weights.
PORK PRODUCTION SEEN RISING
Pork production was expected to climb in 2015 to 23.895 billion pounds from 22.822 billion last year. This estimate is up from December’s projection of 23.620 billion as quarterly production is expected to surpass every 2014 period.
The USDA’s Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report in December indicated farrowings climbed 3% in the September-November quarter and that producers expected to expand farrowings by 4% during December into May of this year.
That quarterly report also showed that pigs saved per litter was record high at 10.23 in the September-November quarter, and WASDE economists expected continued growth in 2015.
However, WASDE economists expected lower hog slaughter rates in 2015, possibly a response to lower prices.
INTERNATIONAL RED MEAT TRADE SEEN LOWER
International trade in red meats was expected to decline in 2015 as domestic production of pork and poultry expanded and a rising US Dollar prevented expanded exports.
The USDA Monday predicted 2015 annual beef imports at 2.700 billion pounds, unchanged from the December estimate but down from 2014’s 2.928 billion.
Beef exports for this year were estimated at 2.525 billion pounds, unchanged from December but down from the 2.584 billion in 2014.
Annual 2015 pork imports were projected at 910 million pounds, unchanged from the December estimate, but down from last year’s 1.008 billion.
The USDA projected 2015 pork exports at 5.250 billion pounds, up from 4.841 billion last year.
HOGS, POULTRY PRICES SEEN LOWER, CATTLE UP
But increased supplies often mean lower prices, and this is the case for 2015. The USDA predicted lower prices for hogs and broilers for 2015. Steer prices were expected to be higher this year than last year but fall short of the estimate made last month.
Slaughter-ready 2015 steer prices were expected to fall somewhere in the range of $159 to $171 per cwt, down from the December estimate of $160 to $172 but up from last year’s $154.56.
This year’s barrow and gilt prices are expected to range from $60 to $65, down from last year’s $76.03 average and down $3 from the December estimate of $63 to $68.
Broiler prices were projected to range from $1.00 to $1.07 a pound, compared with $1.076 last year and the December estimate of $1.00 to $1.08.