WASDE Lowers 2019 Meat Production Estimate

Friday’s World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates report lowered its projection for total 2019 US red meat and poultry production from the previous month.

A lower forecast for beef and turkey production more than offset higher pork production estimates, the report said.




Beef production estimates for the year were reduced 310 million pounds, or 1.12%, to 27.300 billion pounds from 27.610 billion in the previous report on a lower-than-expected pace of fed cattle slaughter so far in the first quarter and lower expected marketings at midyear.

The 2018 beef production estimate came in at 26.868 billion pounds, up four million, or 0.01%, from 26.864 billion in the previous report.  Production in 2017 was pegged at 26.187 billion pounds.

Partly offsetting the lower forecast for 2019 fed cattle slaughter were higher expectations for cow slaughter.  The lower production forecast also reflected projections for lighter carcass weights for the year.

Beef trade forecasts for 2019 were unchanged from last month, with imports projected to total 3.010 billion pounds and exports at 3.255 billion.

Cattle price forecasts were raised for 2019 on current price strength and expectations of firm demand throughout the year.  Steer prices were put in a range from $116 to $123 per cwt, up from $115 to $122 in the February report.  This compares with the 2018 price of $117.12 and 2017’s $121.52.




The 2019 pork production forecast was raised to 27.430 billion pounds, up 90 million, or 0.34%, from 26.340 billion in the previous report, on the current pace of slaughter and heavier first-quarter carcass weights.

The estimate of 2018 pork production was lowered to 26.315 billion pounds from the February report’s 26.320 billion.  Production in 2017 was pegged at 25.584 billion pounds.

The pork trade forecast was unchanged from last month.  Pork import estimates were lowered 55 million pounds, or 5.19%, for 2019 to 1.005 billion pounds from 1.060 billion, reflecting larger domestic supplies and limited demand for foreign product.

Forecast pork exports were lowered 175 million pounds, or 2.28%, to 6.125 billion pounds from 6.300 billion on slower international demand for US pork products.

First- and third-quarter barrow and gilt prices for 2019 were reduced to a range of $41 to $43 per cwt from $41 to $44 the previous month.  The estimated 2018 price was left unchanged at $45.93 per cwt, compared with the 2017 average of $50.48.




The 2019 broiler production forecast was unchanged from last month at 43.100 billion pounds.  However, the 2018 production estimate of 42.592 billion pounds was up 57 million, or 0.13%, from the February estimate of 42.535 billion, and 2017 production was [egged at 41.662 billion.

The 2019 broiler trade forecast was unchanged from the previous month at 137 million pounds of imports and 7.145 billion in exports.

Broiler price forecasts for 2019 were reduced to a range of $%0.93 to $0.99 a pound from $0.94 to $1.00 in February on recent price data.