USDA Cuts 2020 Meat Production Estimate

The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service’s estimate of total US red meat and poultry production for 2020 was reduced Thursday from last month as sectors at all levels were adjusted to Covid-19 and economic uncertainty, the USDA said in its monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report.

Beef, pork and poultry export forecasts in the report were reduced from last month on slowing global demand.

The report lowered price forecasts for 2020 for cattle, hogs and broilers on generally weak demand and large supplies.




The 2020 beef production forecast was reduced in the report by 255 million pounds, or 0.92%, to 27.445 billion pounds from 27.700 billion last month as lower expected steer and heifer slaughter more than offset forecasts for higher cow slaughter.

All of the slaughter cuts were forecast to come in the second half of the year.

Still, the 2020 beef-production estimate in the report was more than last year’s 27.151-billion-pound production by 294 million pounds, or 1.08%.

However, what would be commensurate beef production declines from the 2020 estimated cut in slaughter rates were offset partially by expected heavier carcass weights, the USDA said.

The beef export forecast of 3.160 billion pounds was reduced 105 million, or 3.22%, from 3.265 billion in the March report on slowing global demand.  This still was 138 million pounds, or 4.57%, more than the 2019 export forecast of 3.022 billion.

Beef imports for 2020 were estimated at 2.940 billion pounds, up 25 million, or 0.86%, from 2.915 billion a month ago but down 117 million, or 3.83%, from the 2019 level of 3.057 billion.




The US pork production forecast was reduced 50 million pounds, or 0.17%, to 29.035 billion pounds from 28.985 billion in the March report.  On the other hand, the 2020 production forecast still was 1.398 billion pounds, or 5.06%, more than the 2019 production level of 27.637 billion.

However, the latest Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report pointed to relatively large supplies of hogs available for slaughter during most of this year, and expected heavier carcass weights also would support estimates for increased production.

The 2020 pork export forecast was reduced by 275 million pounds, or 3.55%, to 7.475 billion pounds from 7.750 billion in the previous report on slowing global demand.  However, this still was 1.154 billion pounds, or 18.3%, more than last year’s 6.321 billion pounds.

This year’s pork import forecast was 815 million pounds, unchanged from the March report but down 130 million, or 13.8%, from 2019’s 945 million.




The US broiler production forecast of 45.160 billion pounds was lowered 915 million, or 1.99%, from 46.075 billion last month as producers respond to weaker demand and lower broiler prices.

The broiler export forecast was reduced to 7.230 billion pounds from 7.430 billion in the March report on slowing global demand.  Imports were 133 million, up from 131 million.




Cash cattle traded in the Plains last week at $105 per cwt on a live basis, down $7 to $8 from the previous week.  Dressed-basis trade was at $168, down $10 to $12.

The USDA choice cutout Friday was up $1.26 per cwt at $223.93, while select was up $0.76 at $208.33.  The choice/select spread widened to $15.60 from $15.10 with 48 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

There were no deliveries against the Apr futures contract tendered on Thursday.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Wednesday was $114.97 per cwt, down $1.82.  This compares with Thursday’s Apr contract settlement of $119.52, down $0.35.