2018 US Meat Disappearance Seen Rising

The USDA expects beef, pork and poultry disappearance to increase next year, driven largely by production increases, but also by changes in trade.

The changes in expectations for beef, pork and poultry were outlined in the USDA’s monthly Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook from the Economic Research Service.




Beef’s per capita disappearance was expected to rise 1.3% to 57.9 pounds, the result of a 2.2% increase in the 2018 production forecast, together with stronger imports (2.9% larger than the 2017 forecast) and a 1.9% increase in exports.

Fourth-quarter 2017 commercial beef production was expected to be 6.970 billion pounds, and beef production for the year was revised upward slightly to 26.495 billion pounds, or 5.05% above last year’s 25.221 billion.

Prices for 1,100- to 1,300-pound choice steers were expected to average $117 to $121 per cwt for the third quarter and $113 to $121 per cwt for the fourth quarter.

Forecasts for US beef imports in 2017 and 2018 were revised upward by 30 million and 45 million pounds, respectively, to 2.789 billion and 2.870 billion.

US beef exports were forecast higher by 10 million pounds in 2017 to 2.816 billion and 35 million pounds in 2018 to 2.870 billion.




Hog and pig inventories reported in the June Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report suggested pork production increases for the balance of 2017 and into 2018.  But despite larger hog supplies, strong demand for domestic and foreign pork was expected to keep second-half 2017 hog prices higher year over year and through the first quarter of 2018.

Fourth-quarter 2017 pork production was expected to be 7.0 billion pounds, and pork production for the year was expected to be 25.834 billion, or 3.44% above last year’s 24.941 billion.

Prices for slaughter hogs were expected to average $51 to $53 pounds for the third quarter and $41 to $45 for the fourth quarter.

Forecasts for US pork imports in 2017 and 2018 were 1.064 billion and 935 million pounds, respectively.

US pork exports were forecast at 5.747 billion pounds in 2017 and at 5.965 billion in 2018.




Forecast broiler production was increased slightly for the second quarter of this year to 10.400 billion pounds.  Third-quarter production was estimated at 10.500 billion pounds, and fourth-quarter production was pegged at 10.350 billion.

The price forecast was increased for the third quarter to 91 to 95 cents a pound, with fourth-quarter prices estimated at 84 to 90 cents.

Because of the slowdown in turkey poult placements, coupled with sustained low prices for whole birds and most cuts, the forecast for 2017 turkey production was reduced by 30 million pounds to 6.062 billion.  In addition, the 2018 forecast was reduced by 75 million pounds to 6.180 billion pounds.




Only moderate fed cattle sales were seen on the livestock exchange video auction last Wednesday, with trade in the north at $117.25 to $118.75 per cwt on a live basis, steady to up $1.50, some with extended pick-up.  In the South, cattle sold at $117.75 to $118.00, steady to up $1.00.

Cash cattle subsequently traded at $117 to $121 on a live basis, down $1 to up $2 from the bulk of the previous week’s action.  Dressed-basis sales were reported at $190 to $191, up $2 to $3.

The USDA’s choice cutout Tuesday was down $1.00 per cwt at $208.05, while select was off $0.56 at $195.25.  The choice/select spread narrowed to $12.80 from $13.24 with 122 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Monday was $149.00 per cwt, up $0.39.  This compares with Tuesday’s Aug settlement at $151.60, down $2.82.