USDA Boosts 2020 Red Meat, Poultry Production Estimate

The new 2020 forecast for total red meat and poultry production was raised from last month on a larger forecast for beef, pork and broiler production, Tuesday’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report said.

Livestock and poultry trade estimates for 2019 were adjusted to reflect December trade data.




The 2020 beef production forecast was raised 40 million pounds, or 0.15%, to 27.480 billion pounds from January’s report of 27.440 billion because of an estimated higher rate of cattle slaughter and heavier fed cattle weights in the first half of the year, the report said.

The 2020 production estimate also was up 329 million pounds, or 1.21%, from the 2019 total of 27.151 billion.

However, the forecast for second-half 2020 beef production was reduced 150 million pounds, or 1.09%, to 13.655 billion pounds from 13.805 billion because of lower anticipated steer and heifer slaughter during the period, the report said.  This reflects a smaller number of cattle outside feedlots implied by the Jan. 1 Cattle (inventory) report, which would result in fewer placements into feedlots, (and, thus, fewer cattle exiting feedlots) during 2020.

For 2020, the beef export forecast was lowered slightly to 3.300 billion pounds from 3.305 billion, reflecting weakness in several markets, but no change was made to the beef import forecast of 2.880 billion pounds.

Fed-cattle price estimates for the first quarter of 2020 were lowered to $123 per cwt from $125 last month because of recent price trends.  The annual price estimate also was reduced to $117 per cwt from the January estimate of $117.50.




The pork production estimate was raised from the January report on higher expected hog slaughter and heavier carcass weights, the report said.  The new estimate for 2020 pork production was 28.885 billion pounds, up 240 million, or 0.84%, from the January estimate of 28.645 billion.

The new 2020 pork production estimate also was up from the latest 2019 production total of 27.637 billion pounds, a gain of 1.248 billion, or 4.52%.

The 2020 pork export forecast was raised 275 million pounds, or 3.87%, from last month to 7.375 billion pounds from 7.100 billion because of expected robust global demand.

At the same time, the 2020 pork import estimate was lowered 50 million pounds, or 5.65%, to 835 million pounds from 885 million.

Hog price forecasts for 2020 were reduced to $49 per cwt from $54.50 last month on increased production.




The WASDE report raised its 2020 broiler production estimate by 375 million pounds, or 0.83%, to 45.775 billion pounds from 45.400 billion in January because of recent hatchery data that showed continued growth in the laying flock, the report said.

The new estimate was up from the revised 2019 production total of 43.877 billion pounds by 1.898 billion, or 4.33%.




Cash cattle trading was reported last week in the Plains at $121 per cwt, down $1 to $1.50 from the previous week, with some in the western Corn Belt at $122.  Dressed-basis trading came in at $192 to $193, down $2.

The USDA choice cutout Tuesday was down $1.08 per cwt at $207.83, while select was up $0.83 at $204.53.  The choice/select spread narrowed to $3.30 from $5.21 with 66 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

No live cattle futures contracts were tendered for delivery Tuesday.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Monday was $140.67 per cwt, up $0.26.  This compares with Tuesday’s Mar contract settlement of $134.67, down $1.02.