USDA Raises Meat Production Forecasts

The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service Tuesday raised its forecast for 2019 total red meat and poultry production.

The AMS said in the monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report that the annual production estimate was raised because of the current pace of beef, pork and broiler production.

The 2019 total red meat and poultry estimate was raised to 105.298 billion pounds, up 274 million, or 0.26%, from 105.024 billion a month ago and up 2.863 billion, or 2.79%, from 2018’s 102.435 billion.

The 2020 total red meat and poultry forecast also was increased from last month to 108.144 billion pounds from 107.464 billion, a gain of 498 million pounds, or 0.46%, as higher broiler production more than offset a lower beef production forecast.




The 2019 beef production estimate in Tuesday’s report was 27.136 billion pounds, up 100 million, or 0.37%, from 27.036 billion in the November report.  This would be up 264 million pounds, or 0.98%, from the 2018 production of 26.872 billion.

The beef production estimate for 2020 was reduced by 35 million pounds, or 0.13%, to 27.515 billion pounds from 27.550 billion last month on projections for a slightly slower pace of fed and non-fed cattle slaughter in the first half of the year.

Beef import forecasts for 2019 and 2020 were raised from last month on trade data to date and expectations that demand for processing-grade beef will remain strong.  Beef imports this year were estimated at 3.046 billion pounds and for 2020 were pegged at 2.880 billion, compared with 2018’s 2.998 billion.

Beef export predictions for 2019 were put at 3.074 billion pounds, compared with 3.104 billion in the November report.  They were lowered to reflect a slightly weaker pace of sales.  The forecast for 2020 was unchanged.




The 2019 pork production estimate was 27.694 billion pounds, up 74 million, or 0.27%, from 27.620 billion in the November report.  This would be up 1.379 billion pounds, or 5.24%, from the 2018 production of 26.315 billion.

The 2020 pork production forecast was left unchanged from November at 28.680 billion pounds.  The USDA is scheduled to publish the Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report on Dec. 23, which could provide an indication of producer farrowing plans for first-half 2020.

Pork export forecasts for 2019 and 2020 were lowered to reflect slower-than-expected growth in exports, although the recent trade agreement with Japan was expected to mitigate the decline.  Exports for 2019 were forecast at 6.296 billion pounds, down from 6.496 billion in November, while 2020 exports were pegged at 7.100 billion, versus 7.300 billion.

Pork imports this year were estimated at 27.708 billion pounds, compared with 27.634 billion last month, and the 2020 import forecast was left unchanged at 28.694 billion.




Cash cattle trading was reported last week at $118 to $119.50 per cwt on a live basis, up $0.50 to $1 from the previous week.  Dressed-basis trade was reported at $188 to $190 per cwt, up $1 to $3.

The USDA choice cutout Tuesday was down $2.15 per cwt at $221.49, while select was off $1.14 at $205.35.  The choice/select spread narrowed to $16.14 from $17.15 with 172 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

No live cattle contracts were tendered for delivery Tuesday.  Seven steer contracts were retendered at one, and seven were demanded at one.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Monday was $143.35 per cwt, up $0.02 from the previous day.  This compares with Tuesday’s Jan contract settlement of $141.65, up $0.12.