USDA Trims 2021 Meat Production Outlook

The USDA, under the guidance of the World Agricultural Outlook Board, Friday reduced its estimate of 2021 total red meat and poultry production from a month earlier on lower expected pork and turkey production.

The beef production forecast was raised from the March report amid a faster rate of cattle slaughter expected in the second half of the year.  However, some of the gains from slaughter likely will be offset by lower carcass weights.

The 2021 pork production estimate was lowered on a slower expected pace of slaughter for the rest of the year.  However, this decline may be offset by higher carcass weights.

The annual broiler production estimate was unchanged from the March report, while the turkey production forecast was reduced on recent production and hatchery data.




Beef production this year was estimated at 27.640 billion pounds, up 60 million, or 0.22%, from the March estimate of 27.580 billion.  The 2021 estimate also was up 488 million, or 1.80%, from 2020’s 27.152 billion.

For 2021, the beef import forecast was reduced 35 million pounds, or 1.21%, to 2.900 billion pounds from 2.935 billion in the March report largely on weakness in imports from Australia.  Export estimates were left unchanged at 3.145 billion.

The new import estimate was down 443 million pounds, or 13.3%, from 2020’s 3.343 billion, and the new export estimate of 3.145 billion pounds was up 189 million, or 6.39%, from last year’s 2.956 billion.




This year’s pork production estimate was pegged at 28.275 billion pounds, down 405 million pounds, or 1.41%, from the last estimate of 28.680 billion.  The new estimate also was down from last year’s 28.300 billion pounds by 25 million, or 0.09%.

The USDA’s March Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report estimated the December 2020-February 2021 pig crop was about 1% fewer than a year earlier, and producers indicated intentions to farrow about 3% fewer sows during March-May.  These hogs could be available for slaughter in the second half of 2021.

The 2021 pork export forecast was raised 75 million pounds, or 1.03%, to 7.250 billion pounds from 7.175 billion a month ago on expectation of continued firm global demand for US pork products.  This year’s export forecast was down 32 million pounds, or 0.44%, from last year’s 7.282 billion.

The 2021 pork import forecast also was raised.  The new estimate was 965 million pounds, up from 945 million in March and up from 2020’s 904 million.




Fed cattle trading last week was reported in the Plains at $120 to $123 per cwt on a live basis, up $2.50 to $4 from the previous week.  Dressed-basis trading was at $195 to $196 per cwt, up $6 to $11.

The USDA choice cutout Friday was up $1.67 per cwt at $272.17, while select was up $0.24 at $264.07.  The choice/select spread widened to $8.10 from $6.67 with 68 loads of fabricated product and 19 loads of trimmings and grinds sold into the spot market.

The USDA reported Friday that basis bids for corn from livestock feeding operations in the Southern Plains were unchanged at $1.15 to $1.20 a bushel over the May CBOT futures contract, which settled at $5.77 1/4 a bushel, down $0.02 1/2.

There were no delivery intentions posted against the Apr live cattle futures contract Friday.  Ten heifer and no steer contracts were retendered for delivery at two.  None were demanded or reclaimed.

The CME Feeder Cattle Index for the seven days ended Thursday was $141.79 per cwt up $0.53.  This compares with Friday’s Apr contract settlement of $144.75 per cwt, down $2.37.