2018 US Meat, Poultry Production To Rise

Forecast quarterly declines in red meat and poultry production could provide mild early year support to wholesale prices but only if traders are watching only quarter-to-quarter changes.

Year-over-year production of US red meat and poultry is expected to rise in 2018 along with per capita consumption rates.

Data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the USDA’s Economic Research Service and compiled by the Livestock Marketing Information Center show an expected decline in first-quarter production from the 2017 fourth quarter, but year-over-year increases are expected.

Total 2017 beef production was estimated to be up 4.69%, 2018 production to be up another 2.88% and 2019 to be up another 2.17%.

Total 2017 pork production was estimated to be up 2.00%, 2018 production to be up another 3.73% and 2019 to be up another 2.28%.

Total 2017 broiler production was estimated to be up 2.47%, 2018 up another 1.81% and 2019 to up 2.36% from there.

However, the estimated annual per capita boneless weight of red meat and poultry consumption has a year-over-year increase of 1.05% in 2017, a gain of 1.34% in 2018 and a push of 1.24% in 2019.




For 2017, total per capita beef consumption was estimated at 54.30 pounds, up 1.31 pounds, or 2.47%, from 52.99 pounds in 2016.  Consumption was expected to rise to 55.57 pounds in 2018, a gain of 1.27 pounds, or 2.34%.

Through 2019, the latest estimate of per capita beef consumption was 56.02 pounds, a gain of 0.45 pound, or 0.81%, from 2018’s estimate.

Per capita pork consumption last year was estimated at 50.16 pounds, up 0.14 pound, or 0.28%, from 50.02 pounds in 2016.  For 2018, the current USDA estimate of per capita consumption rises to 50.94 pounds, a gain of 0.78 pound, or 1.56%.

For 2019, annual per capita pork consumption was expected to rise to 51.50 pounds, up 0.56 pound, or 1.10%, from 2018’s 50.94 pounds.

Annual per capita chicken consumption was expected at 64.24 pounds in 2017, up 0.73 pound, or 1.15%, from 63.51 pounds in 2016.  Further, 2018 consumption was placed at 65.04 pounds, a gain of 0.80 pound, or 1.25%, from 2017.

Chicken consumption in 2019 was estimated at 66.12 pounds per person, up 1.08 pound, or 1.66%, from the 2018 estimate.

Turkey production and consumption was expected to show little change over the period.




Annual red meat and poultry production for 2017 was expected to be 99.625 billion pounds, followed by 102.498 billion in 2018 and 104.726 billion in 2019.

However, a decline in quarterly production in all major meats in the first quarter of 2018 could lend support to prices.  This likely will be made up for in subsequent quarters.

Estimated 2017 fourth-quarter red meat and poultry production of 25.535 billion pounds was expected to give way to production of 24.809 billion pounds, a decline of 726 million, or 2.84%.




No fed cattle sold last Wednesday on the Livestock Exchange video auction.

Friday, cash cattle sold at $123 per cwt on a live basis, up $3 from the previous week and at $193 to mostly $195 dressed, up $3 to $4.

The USDA’s choice cutout Tuesday was up $2.24 per cwt at $205.14, while select was up $3.59 at $196.57.  The choice/select spread narrowed to $8.57 from $9.92 with 75 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Monday was $155.33 per cwt, down $0.69.  This compares with Tuesday’s Jan settlement of $149.52, up $3.52.