Q4 Red Meat, Poultry Exports Seen Rising

The USDA’s Economic Research Service forecast total fourth-quarter US red meat and poultry exports to raise full-year exports of these products by more than 3% from 2018.

The projection came in the ERS’ monthly Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook, which also said US trade data through September indicated that total red meat and poultry exports through the period increased only 1.1% from a year earlier.

The latest forecast went on to say that 2020 US meat exports were expected to jump about 7% from this year.




While US beef exports were likely to end 2019 with almost a 2% decline from 2018, shipments in 2020 could rebound by about 7%, the ERS said.  Drought in Australia is reducing its exportable supply of beef, and Asia’s beef demand is growing.

The beef production forecast for 2019 was raised by 88 million pounds from last month on higher expected fed cattle and cow slaughter, but the outlook for 2020 was reduced on lower expected carcass weights and slightly lower marketings.

Increased cow slaughter from early September through mid-October was evident mostly in Southeastern states where drought was harming pastures, the ERS said.

The 2020 beef-production forecast was lowered by 120 million pounds from last month to 27.6 billion based on a slower-than-expected recovery in carcass weights and slightly fewer expected marketings of fed cattle in early months.

The ERS estimated that on Oct. 1 the number of cattle available to place into feedlots was 30.4 million head, about 1.1% more than last year.  However, winter wheat pasture availability was expected to result in slower fourth-quarter placements, which likely will result in fewer fed cattle marketings during the first-half of 2020.

The ERS raised its prediction for fed cattle prices for fourth-quarter 2019 on recent price data, the report said.  The forecast for 2020 was unchanged from last month.

US beef exports and imports for 2019 were adjusted to reflect third-quarter reported data, the report said.  The forecasts for fourth-quarter 2019 and for 2020 were unchanged from last month.




Large year-over-year increases in pork exports (about 11% in 2019 and more than 12% in 2020) were forecast.  The ERS said this largely was because of increased demand from African Swine Fever-stricken countries in Asia.

The ERS’ fourth-quarter pork production estimate was revised upward to reflect a faster-than-anticipated pace of hog slaughter and slightly higher average dressed weights.  Fourth-quarter production was expected to be 7.5 billion pounds, about 6% more than a year ago.

Fourth-quarter hog prices were expected to average $44 per cwt, almost 3% more than the same quarter last year.  September pork exports were 465 million pounds, almost 8% more than a year ago, the ERS said.  Exports to China\Hong Kong more than tripled compared with a year ago.

Third-quarter pork exports were 1.516 billion pounds, 16.8% ahead of a year ago.  Fourth-quarter exports were expected to be record-large at 2 billion pounds, reflecting strong global demand.




Cash cattle trading last week took place at $115 to $116 per cwt on a live basis, steady to up $1 from the previous week.  Dressed-basis trading was reported at $182 to $182.50 per cwt, up $0.50 to $1.

The USDA choice cutout Tuesday was down $0.11 per cwt at $239.01, while select was off $0.12 at $215.47.  The choice/select spread widened to $23.54 from $23.53 with 102 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Monday was $146.54 per cwt, down $0.15 from the previous day.  This compares with Tuesday’s Nov contract settlement of $146.60, up $0.22.