USDA Trims Meat Production Forecast

The April edition of the 2019 forecast for total red meat and poultry production was lowered from March on lower expected beef, pork and broiler production, the USDA said Tuesday.

The new estimates were contained in the monthly World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates report Tuesday.




The 2019 beef production forecast was reduced to 27.280 billion pounds from the March estimate of 27.300 billion primarily on lower carcass weights.  However, expectations for higher total cattle slaughter for the year were expected to offset some of the lost production from declines in carcass weights.

For 2019, beef trade forecasts were unchanged from last month, with total beef exports at 3.255 billion pounds and imports at 3.010 billion.

The 2019 fed steer price forecast was adjusted to reflect a slightly lower first-quarter price.  The new annual target price range now is $117 to $122 per cwt, compared with $116 to $123 in the March report.




The annual pork production estimate was lowered to 27.325 billion pounds from 27.430 billion in the March report on expectations for a slower pace of slaughter through the year.  However, this decline may be offset partially by slightly higher hog weights.

The USDA’s March Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report estimated producers farrowed 2% more sows during the December-through-February quarter and indicated their intentions to farrow about 1% more sows in the March-through-May quarter.  These pigs will be ready for slaughter in the second half of the year.

The pork import estimate remained unchanged from the previous month at 1.005 billion pounds, but the export forecast was raised to 6.175 billion pounds from 6.125 billion in March on expectations of stronger global demand for US pork products in the second half of the year.  These forecasts assume current trade policies will remain in place.

The market hog price forecast was raised to a range of $45 to $47 per cwt from a range of $41 to $43 last month, but demand in coming quarters was not expected to be as strong as in March and early April.




The 2019 broiler production estimate was reduced to 43.010 billion pounds from 43.100 billion last month on recent hatchery data and slowing weight growth, while the turkey production estimate was raised slightly to 5.860 billion pounds from 5.855 billion.

No change was made to broiler and turkey export forecasts of 7.145 billion pounds and 610 million pounds, respectively.

The broiler price forecast was reduced to a range of $0.94 to $0.98 a pound from $0.93 to $0.99 in the March report, reflecting a lower first-quarter price.

Modest year-over-year gains in turkey prices supported a higher price forecast to $0.85 to $0.89 a pound from an estimate of $0.84 to $0.89 a pound.




Cash cattle trading last week was reported at $124 per cwt on a live basis, down $1 to $2 from the previous week.  Dressed-basis sales ranged from $200 to $206 per cwt but were mostly $204, down $2 to $3.

The USDA choice cutout Tuesday was down $0.35 per cwt at $228.32, while select was down $2.08 at $218.80.  The choice/select spread widened to $9.52 from $7.79 with 91 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

There were no tenders Tuesday for delivery against the Apr futures contract.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Monday, was $143.50 per cwt, up $0.20.  This compares with Tuesday’s Apr contract settlement of $146.15, down $0.57.