USDA Ups 2020 Meat, Poultry Production Estimates

The USDA raised its 2020 forecast of total red meat and poultry production from last month as beef, pork and poultry production estimates all moved up.

The new estimates came in the monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report Tuesday.  Higher fed cattle slaughter and heavier weights, increased pork slaughter rates and a boost in eggs set all contributed to the estimates for increased protein production this year.




The 2020 US beef production estimate was raised 220 million pounds, or 0.80%, to 27.700 billion pounds from 27.480 billion in the previous month’s report as higher expected steer and heifer slaughter more than offset forecasts for lower non-fed cattle slaughter.

The 2020 estimate is 549 million pounds, or 2.02%, above 2019’s production of 27.151 billion pounds.

Heavier carcass weights also were expected to support increased beef production.

The 2020 beef import forecast was raised to 2.915 million pounds from 2.880 million in the February report, a gain of 35,000, or 1.22%, on higher expected imports of processing grade beef.  However, this still was 142,000 pounds, or 4.65%, below 2019 imports of 3.057 million pounds.

The 2020 export forecast was reduced by 35,000 pounds, or 1.07%, to 3.265 million pounds from 3.300 million on weaker anticipated demand in several markets.  But that still was 243,000 pounds, or 8.04%, above 2019 exports of 3.022 million pounds.

The fed cattle price forecast was reduced $2.50 per cwt, or 2.14%, to $114.50 from $117.00 last month on recent price weakness and increased production.




The new 2020 pork production estimate of 28.985 billion pounds was increased 100 million, or 0.35%, from 28.885 billion on higher first-quarter slaughter rates.

By contrast, 2019 production was pegged at 27.637 billion pounds, an increase of 1.348 billion, or 4.88%, for 2020.

Pork export expectations were raised 375,000 pounds, or 5.08%, to 7.750 million from 7.375 million last month on recent trade data and strong international demand for US pork products.

The annual pork import forecast declined to 815,000 pounds from 835,000 in February, a dip of 20,000, or 2.40%.

The average slaughter hog price forecast for the year was reduced $1.00 per cwt, or 2.04%, to $48.00 from $49.00 on pressure from large hog supplies.




The 2020 broiler production forecast was raised 300 million pounds, or 0.65%, to 46.075 billion from 45.775 in February on the current pace of slaughter as well as recent hatchery data, which points toward continued flock expansion.

That compares with the revised 2019 annual production rate of 43.905 billion pounds, which was reported at 43.877 billion pounds in February.

The broiler export forecast was raised slightly from last month to 7.430 million pounds from 7.425 million on recent trade data.  This was a gain of 5,000 pounds, or 0.07%.

Broiler price expectations were lowered to $0.83 a pound from $0.87 in February as larger supplies outweigh forecast demand, a decline of $0.04, or 4.60%.




Cash cattle traded in the Plains this week at $110 per cwt on a live basis, down $3 from last week, and at $175 dressed, down $5 to $7.

The USDA choice cutout Tuesday was down $0.27 per cwt at $207.09, while select was off $3.61 at $198.71.  The choice/select spread widened to $8.38 from $5.04 with 102 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Monday was $133.26 per cwt, down $1.60 from the previous day.  This compares with Tuesday’s Mar contract settlement of $127.75, up $1.55.