Red Meat, Poultry Disappearance Seen Up

Red meat and poultry disappearance this year was expected to increase 2.6 pounds per capita from last year, according to the latest USDA projection.

The USDA’s Economic Research Service made the forecast in its monthly Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook report Wednesday.  “Disappearance” was clarified to mean the quantity of red meat and poultry used in domestic markets.

Although poultry production was expected to rise 2% this year, strong production increases of beef and pork – 4.1% and 4.7%, respectively – largely explains the share of red meat per capita available in 2017 and, thus, the higher consumption.

In 2017, per capita disappearance of red meat and poultry at the retail level was projected to be 217.2 pounds, 2.6 more than the 214.6 pounds last year, the report said.  Red meats were expected to make up 41.1% of disappearance, while poultry likely will account for 49.9%.

Last year, the breakdown between market shares of red meats and poultry was the reverse:  poultry was 50.2%, and red meats accounted for 49.8%, the ERS said.

 

SOUTHERN PLAINS GRAZING HAMPERED BY DROUGHT, FIRE

 

The ERS diverged from its usual path of reporting its outlook for the markets by saying cattle grazing in the Southwest and Southern Plains likely was being hampered by drought and wildfires.  Fire has scorched hundreds of square miles in the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles, as well as Southwestern Kansas and southeastern Colorado.

Apart from the USDA report, pictures from the area show an added point of devastation – the ash has blown away in many areas, leaving a barren landscape that is subject to wind erosion.

In addition, the latest NOAA US Drought Monitor shows areas of severe drought have increased across much of Oklahoma, southwest Kansas and eastern Colorado, the Outlook report said.  Oklahoma also continues to experience “extremely warm and dry weather” on top of last year’s warm and dry weather.

“This may be affecting some winter wheat pastures in these areas,” the ERS said.

 

PLACEMENTS MAY SHOW PASTURE CONCERNS

 

The Jan. 1 Cattle Inventory report showed that cattle outside feedlots totaled 26.6 million head, up 2.17% from 2016.  Based on the February Cattle on Feed report, January placements into feedlots were up 11% from the same period in 2016 and almost at the same level as 2014.  These higher year-over-year net placements and the decline in placements and the average placement weight in January may have reflected concerns about pasture availability, the ERS said.

Feeder cattle prices bottomed in October last year and have seen a slow rebound since that appears to have stalled over the last two months, the ERS said.  This likely was because of the relatively large supply available to the market.

The first-quarter 2017 feeder cattle price was expected to average from $217 to R$131 per cwt, up $1.20 from the fourth-quarter of 2016.