Lower Total Meat Production Despite Pork, Chicken Gains

The USDA Tuesday lowered its forecast of total 2015 red meat and poultry production as lower beef production more than offset expected increases in pork and chicken production.

In its monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, the USDA’s World Agricultural Outlook Board said total projected red meat and poultry production for the year at 95.069 billion pounds, down 59 million, or 0.06%, from its February estimate of 95.128 billion.  It also was down 2.897 billion, or 3.14%, from 92.172 billion last year.




Quarterly beef production is expected to rise through the first three quarters of the year, only to decline again in the fourth.  In addition, carcass weights were expected to decline in the first quarter, adding to expected slaughter declines.

Even though annual beef production was expected to be down from last year, 2015 beef imports were expected to decline 87 million pounds, or 2.95%, to 2.860 billion pounds from 2.947 billion last year.  The new estimate, however, was up 50 million pounds from the February projection of 2.810 billion.

The WASDE report pegged 2015 beef production at 24.060 billion pounds, down 192 million, or 0.79%, from its 24.220-billion-pound February estimate.  The March estimate is 192 million, or 0.79% shy of its 2014 production estimate of 24.252 billion pounds.

Beginning beef stocks for the year were estimated at 591 million pounds, up from February’s estimate of 586 million and from last year’s 584 million.

The sum of all the parts leaves the estimate of beef ending stocks unchanged from February at 485 million pounds.  However, ending stocks were down 106 million, or 17.9%, from the revised 2014 ending stocks.

WASDE’s projected cash prices for steers this year was unchanged from February at $157 to $167 per cwt on a live basis, up about $2.50 to $11 from last year’s $154.56.




Pork production was estimated at 24.120 billion pounds, up 30 million, or 0.12%, from the February estimate of 24.090 billion.  It also is up 1.277 million, or 5.59%, from the 22.844 billion pounds produced last year.

Production was expected to be above year-ago output in every quarter of the year, although seasonal declines were expected in the second and third quarters, WASDE said.  Pork production was expected to be grow with a larger overall slaughter rate and heavier carcasses.

Beginning supplies of pork were raised 8 million pounds from the February report, while import estimates were up to 1.0 billion from 910 million in the February report.  However, pork import estimates were down 7.0 million from 2014.

The pork export forecast was lowered 70 million pounds to 4.75 billion from the February estimate of 4.82 billion.  Exports also were lowered 108 million pounds, leaving ending stocks unchanged from February at 605 million pounds, up 46 million from the revised 2014 count of 559 million.