WASDE Lowers 2018 Red Meat, Poultry Production Estimate

The USDA Thursday lowered its 2018 total red meat and poultry production forecast from October as lower beef, pork and turkey production estimates more than offset predictions of higher broiler production.

The revised production outlooks came in the USDA’s monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report, which came at noon ET.  The report also said the 2019 total red meat and poultry forecast was reduced on lower expected beef, pork and turkey production.




The report said the 2018 beef production estimate was reduced 30 million pounds, or 0.11%, to 26.914 billion pounds from 26.944 billion in last month’s report on expectations of slower marketings of fed cattle in the fourth quarter.

The USDA also trimmed its forecast for 2019 beef production to 27.810 billion pounds from 27.910 billion in the October report, a decline of 100 million pounds, or 0.36%.  The report cited lower expected production from steer and heifer slaughter in the first half of 2019.

Beef import forecasts for 2018 and 2019 were reduced from the October report on ideas of decreased shipments of processing beef from Australia, the report said.  The new 2018 import forecast was 3.014 billion pounds, down 13 million, or 0.43%, from 3.027 billion a month ago.  The new 2019 import forecast was 3.060 billion pounds, down 40 million, or 1.29%, from 3.100 billion a month ago.

However, beef export forecasts for 2918 and 2019 were raised from October on expectations of continued firm global demand for US beef.  The new 2018 export forecast was 3.190 billion pounds, up 26 million, or 0.82%, from 3.164 billion in October.  The new 2019 export forecast was 3.265 billion pounds, up 20 million, or 0.62%, from 3.245 billion a month ago.

Cattle price forecasts were raised for 2018 and the first quarter of 2019.  The average 2018 price for steers was expected at $116.79 per cwt, up from $116.29 in October, an increase of $0.50, or 0.43%.




The 2018 pork production forecast was reduced 105 million pounds, or 0.40%, to 26.320 billion pounds from October’s 26.425 billion on lower expected fourth-quarter hog slaughter and lighter carcass weights.

The 2019 pork production forecast was reduced 95 million pounds, or 0.34%, to 27.715 billion pounds from 27.810 billion on lower expected first-quarter hog slaughter and slightly lighter carcass weights.

This year’s pork exports were set at 5.984 billion pounds, down five million, or 0.08%, from 5.989 billion in the October report.  For 2019, exports were set at 6.200 billion pounds, unchanged from a month ago.

Pork imports for 2018 were pegged at 1.059 billion pounds, down five million, or 0.47%, from October’s 1.064-billion forecast, while the 2019 forecast was unchanged at 1.060 billion.




Cash cattle have traded at $112 to mostly $114 per cwt on a live basis and at $178 to mostly $180 on a dressed basis in the Midwest this week.

Cash cattle trade last week waited until late Friday, and many sellers passed.  Trade ranged from $114 to $116 per cwt on a live basis, steady to up $1 from the bulk of trade the previous week.  Dressed-basis trade was reported at $180 to $197, up $6 to $17.

The USDA choice cutout Thursday was down $2.15 per cwt at $216.07, while select was off $2.66 at $199.11.  The choice/select spread widened to $16.96 from $16.45 with 102 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Wednesday, was $152.23 per cwt, down $0.65.  This compares with Thursday’s Nov settlement of $150.17, up $0.25.