Per capita disappearance of beef, pork and chicken likely will increase this year as production of all three puts more meat in front of consumers, said the USDA’s Economic Research Service in its Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook report for January.
For 2018, the per capita quantity available to consumers was projected to be the equivalent of 222.8 pounds, the highest since the series calculation began. The most important factors driving the estimate of per capita disappearance this year were forecast increases in year-over-year production of beef (up 6.1%), pork (up 5.4%) and broiler meat (up 2.1%).
The USDA said per capita disappearance is not the same as per capita consumption since it is a pure statistics calculation and does not take into account waste or nonfood uses of livestock meat products. It imparts no information about prices, tastes and preferences or other factors that ultimately determine how much red meat and poultry individual consumers will choose to buy and consume.
CATTLE AND BEEF
Dry conditions in the Southern Plains stressed pasture availability, supporting strong placements of calves in feedlots in the fourth quarter of last year. As a result, beef production this year was forecast to be higher at 27.8 billion pounds on greater expected marketings of fed cattle in the first half of the year.
The seasonality of cattle placed into feedlots historically is characterized by peak placements of the lightest weight cattle during the fall for longer-term feeding. Summer forage supplies tighten during the fall weaning period, and the lack of pasture forces calves into feedlots.
Weather patterns can add to the availability of fall and winter forage, making many year-to-year changes in placement rates based on nothing else.
The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Cattle on Feed report said net placements into feedlots in November were 2.03 million head, 14.3% higher than in 2016.
Based on that COF report, placements as a percent of cattle weighing under 600 pounds reached 29%. Further, 140,000 more head, or 39%, of cattle in this category were placed than in November of 2016.
MORE EXPECTED MARKETINGS=MORE BEEF PRODUCTION
The 2018 beef production forecast was raised from last month by 170 million pounds to 27.8 billion on greater expected marketings and slaughter. Although cattle prices have been stronger than previously expected given higher anticipated marketings, fed steer prices likely will remain below levels of the first half of 2017.
The five-area USDA fed steer price forecast for the first quarter was adjusted higher to $120 to $124 per cwt.xxxxx
CATTLE, BEEF RECAP
No cattle were sold Wednesday on the Livestock Exchange video auction. Only 108 cattle traded last Wednesday on the Livestock Exchange video auction at $119.75 per cwt, up $0.75 from the previous week.
The USDA has about 600 head selling this week in the cash market at mostly $123 per cwt. Cash cattle traded early last week at $118 to mostly $120 per cwt on a live basis, about steady with the bulk of the previous week’s action, and then at $123 on Friday, up about $3. On a dressed basis, cattle traded at $192 to $193 early, steady to up $1 and then at $195 on Friday, up $3.
The USDA’s choice cutout Thursday was down $1.22 per cwt at $2067.77, while select was up $0.47 at $201.32. The choice/select spread narrowed to $5.45 from $7.14 with 105 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.
The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Wednesday, was $147.68 per cwt, down $0.35. This compares with Thursday’s Jan settlement of $147.85, down $0.30 and Mar’s settlement of $143.92, down $2.47.