USDA data compiled by the Livestock Marketing Information Center shows that expected per capita US beef consumption this year will total 57.0 pounds, up from 56.9 last year but below the projected 2019 total of 57.3 pounds.
In making its assessments, the LMIC used steer price data from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service and other data from the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service and then made its own projections and forecasts.
BEEF SUPPLY SEEN HIGHER
In making its total 2018 projections, the LMIC extrapolated data to predict fourth-quarter commercial cattle slaughter at 8.391 million head, up 3.0% from a 8.145 million in the year-earlier quarter. Total 2018 commercial cattle slaughter was pegged at 33.055 million head, up from 32.189 million last year.
The LMIC also estimated average dressed weight for each carcass during the fourth-quarter of this year at 824 pounds, down 0.5% from 828 pounds in the same quarter of 2017. For the year, average dressed weights were expected to hold at 814 pounds, although the unrounded number was up 0.1% from 2017.
That would result in fourth-quarter beef production at 6.911 billion pounds, up 2.5% from 6.742 billion a year ago, and annual production of 26.920 billion pounds, up 2.8% from 26.187 billion last year.
Combined with farm production during the fourth quarter of 26 million pounds this year and last year, total 2018 beef production for the quarter was put at 6.937 billion pounds this year and 6.768 billion in the 2017 quarter. Annual 2018 beef production, then, was put at 26.990 billion pounds, up 2.8%, from 26.255 billion last year.
Beginning stocks for fourth-quarter 2018 were estimated at 674 million pounds, up 2.1%, from 660 million a year earlier. Annual beginning stocks this year were put at 649 million pounds, down 14.3%, from 757 million last year.
Imports for the last quarter of this year were put at 665 million pounds, down 0.4%, from 668 million in the 2017 quarter. Total 2018 beef imports were estimated at 2.999 billion pounds, up 0.2%, from 2.993 billion last year.
All of that put total projected fourth-quarter 2018 beef supplies at 8.276 billion pounds, up 2.2%, from 8.095 billion a year ago, and an annual total beef supply of 30.638 billion pounds, up 2.1%, from 30.006 billion in 2017.
UTILIZATION SEEN HIGHER
The LMIC also projected total beef utilization to be higher.
Fourth-quarter exports were expected to total 805 million pounds, up 3.1%, from 781 million a year earlier. Total expected 2018 exports were set at 3.160 billion pounds, up 10.5%, from 2.860 billion in 2017.
Yet total disappearance for the fourth quarter was put at 6.731 billion pounds, up from 6.665 billion a year ago, and annual disappearance was seen at 26.738 billion pounds, versus 26.497 billion.
CATTLE, BEEF RECAP
At the Fed Cattle Exchange video auction Wednesday, 148 head of fed cattle sold at $116.75 per cwt.
Cash cattle traded last week early at $114 per cwt on a live basis, steady with the previous week, and at $180 on a dressed basis, up $2 to $5. However, the bulk of last week’s action took place Wednesday and Friday at $116 to $117 per cwt live, up $2 to $3, and at $180 dressed.
The USDA choice cutout Thursday was down $0.67 per cwt at $212.61, while select was up $0.03 at $198.53. The choice/select spread narrowed to $14.08 from $14.78 with 103 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.
The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Wednesday, was $147.47 per cwt, down $0.44. This compares with Thursday’s Jan settlement of $145.97, down $1.72.