Record 2017 Meat, Poultry Production Seen

Total 2017 red meat and poultry production will be record high again this year at about 52.1 billion pounds on a carcass weight basis, but it will be led by pork and chicken, according to projections by the Livestock Marketing Information Center.

Using USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service data, the LMIC projected production increases through 2019, and the data point to gains in beef pork and chicken, but it will be beef’s competitors that take center stage over the next few years.

Total US red meat and poultry production often are cited as “record high,” which was correct last year and could be again this year.  The LMIC forecasts this situation to persist through 2019.

However, production numbers need to be kept in context, the LMIC said in its weekly Livestock Monitor.  First, in looking at the 56 years from 1960 through 2016, 40 of them, or 71%, set record highs in red meat and poultry production.  Records have become typical and not abnormal.




The LMIC projected that among US red meats (beef, pork, lamb and veal), only commercial pork production will set a new high this year at 25.7 billion pounds on a carcass weight basis.

Beef output in 2017 was expected to be about 26.2 billion pounds.  This would be the largest for any year since 2010.

Lamb production in 2017 was forecast to erode to 143 million pounds, a new low.

Commercial veal production was projected to be just over 79 million pounds, larger than 2016 but the second lowest since data compilation began in 1960.

Annual 2017 chicken and turkey production, led by chicken, was projected to set a new high with a federally inspected output of 47.4 billion pounds.  Turkey tonnage was expected to be slightly below a year ago.




Further insight was provided by calculating per capita disappearance, the LMIC said.  Besides accounting for population growth, the calculation entails subtracting exported tonnage, adding imports and adjusting for any year-over-year change in stocks (frozen product).

Usually, disappearance is discussed as retail weight.  Retail weight per capita disappearance of total red meat and poultry in 2017 was projected to be the largest since 2008, not record large.

LMIC projects this year’s US per person beef disappearance will be the largest since 2012.  For pork, due mostly to large export tonnage, per person disappearance in 2017 was expected to come in at slightly below 2016.

Combined chicken and turkey disappearance in 2017 was likely to be slightly below a year ago’s record-high.

Drilling down into the production numbers shows large supplies of most meats and poultry but not unheard-of levels.

Looking at the retail weight per person is important.  It gives insight, among other things, to how exports have affected domestic use.




There were no sales last Wednesday on the livestock exchange video auction for the second straight week.

Cash cattle trading in the Central Plains last week was reported at $107 per cwt on a live basis, down $3 from the bulk of the previous week’s action.  Dressed-basis markets traded at $172 to $173, compared with $175 to $177.

The USDA’s choice cutout Tuesday was up $0.27 per cwt at $191.77, while select was up $2.17 at $190.79.  The choice/select spread narrowed to $0.98 from $2.88 with 86 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Monday was $143.19 per cwt, up $0.57.  This compares with Tuesday’s Aug settlement at $142.60, up $0.17, and the Sep settlement of $143.02, down $2.85.