US Meat Production Seen Rising Through 2020

The Livestock Marketing Information Center expects total US red meat and poultry production to continue rising this year, although expected declines in poultry production could limit 2020 gains.

LMIC economists took USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service data and extrapolated it to give a quarterly outlook through next year.  Their outlook says beef and pork production will continue to increase, but chicken production could flag in the fourth quarter of this year and next.

The US this year was expected to produce 104.229 billion pounds of red meat and poultry, up 2.233 billion, or 2.19%, from last year’s 101.996 billion and up 9.049 billion, or 9.51%, from the 2013-2017 average of 95.180 billion.

Next year, total red meat and poultry production was expected to reach 105.887 billion pounds, a gain of 1.658 billion, or 1.59%, from this year’s expected total.




Red meat and poultry production was expected to increase in every quarter through next year when compared with the same quarter a year earlier.

However, total production in the first three quarters of next year was not expected to get above the 2019 fourth quarter until the fourth quarter of 2020, and then only by a thin margin.  Often, quarterly production rises above the previous fourth quarter by the second or third quarter.

First-quarter red meat and poultry production this year came in at a preliminary 25.169 billion pounds.  This was above the 2018 first-quarter production of 25.033 billion pounds by 136 million, or 0.54%.  But it was behind the projected 2020 first-quarter production of 26.171 billion pounds by 1.002 billion pounds, or 3.98%.

Second-quarter all-meat production this year was a preliminary 25.728 billion pounds, up 438 million, or 1.73%, from the 2018 quarter’s production of 25.290 billion but 498 million, or 1.94%, below the projected 2020 quarter’s production of 26.226 billion pounds.

Third-quarter 2019 total meat production was estimated at 26.497 billion pounds, up 915 million, or 3.58%, from the 2018 quarter’s 25.582 billion but 157 million, or 0.59%, below the 2020 quarter’s estimated 26.654 billion.

Fourth-quarter all-meat production this year was estimated at 26.836 billion pounds, up 745 million, or 2.86%, from 26.091 billion in the same quarter last year and virtually identical to the projected 2020 fourth-quarter production.




Quarterly US beef production was expected to peak in the 2020 third quarter as the total US herd peaks, but remain above the previous year’s quarters through next year.

Total beef production this year was expected to be 27.192 billion pounds, up 320 million, or 1.19%, from 26.872 billion in 2018 but 306 million, or 1.13%, behind the projected 2020 output of 27.498 billion.

The quarterly production peak of 7.099 billion pounds was expected in the third quarter next year.  This would be 50 million, or 0.71%, above this year’s estimated third-quarter production of 7.049 billion pounds.




Cash cattle trading was reported in the Plains last week at $109 to $113.50 per cwt on a live basis, steady to up $2 from the previous week’s action.  On a dressed basis, trading was reported at $180 to $181 per cwt, steady to up $1.

The USDA choice cutout Tuesday was down $2.73 per cwt at $214.73, while select was off $2.32 at $192.09.  The choice/select spread narrowed to $22.64 from $23.05 with 113 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Monday was $135.44 per cwt, up $1.07 from the previous day.  This compares with Tuesday’s Aug contract settlement of $142.87, up $3.97.