USDA Raises Red Meat, Poultry Production Forecasts

The USDA Wednesday raised its 2017 forecast for red meat and poultry production from last month as higher estimates of beef and broiler production more than offset expected declines in pork and turkey production.

The USDA made the predictions in its monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report and went on to say that 2017 beef production forecasts were raised to 26.495 billion pounds from 26.225 billion in June on higher cattle slaughter and heavier carcass weights.

Pork production forecasts for this year were reduced to 25.834 billion pounds from 25.894 billion as lower slaughter in the middle of the year more than offsets higher fourth-quarter kills.  Second-half hog carcass weights also were reduced.

Broiler production estimates for 2017 were raised slightly to 41.483 billion pounds from 41.458 billion on recent production data.  And turkey production forecasts were lowered to 6.062 billion pounds from 6.092 billion last month amid recent production data and a slow demand recovery in the second half of the year.




For 2018, red meat and poultry production forecasts were reduced.

Forecast beef production for next year was reduced from the June report on lower expected steer and heifer slaughter in the first part of the year.

The pork production forecast was reduced from last month as the USDA’s Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report indicated producer intentions to farrow slightly more hogs over the next two quarters, and growth in pigs per litter was expected to remain modest.

Broiler and egg production forecasts were unchanged, but the estimate of 2018 turkey production was reduced from last month’s estimate as current price weakness was expected to slow the pace of growth.




The 2017 beef import forecast was raised on recent trade data.  The beef export forecast was raised from a month ago as global demand was expected to strengthen in the second half of the year.

For 2018, beef import and export forecasts were raised from last month’s report.

Pork, poultry and egg trade forecasts for this year and next were unchanged from the June report.




Cattle price forecasts for 2017 were lowered from last month as prices have weakened and fed cattle supplies were expected to remain ample.  For 2018, cattle price forecasts were unchanged.

Hog price forecasts for 2017 were raised from last month amid strong domestic and export demand.  Demand strength was expected to carry over into 2018, and forecast hog prices were raised.

Broiler price expectations were raised for 2017 on current price strength, while turkey prices were lowered because of weak demand.  No changes are made for 2018 broiler and turkey price forecasts.




Only moderate fed cattle sales were seen on the livestock exchange video auction Wednesday, with trade in the north at $117.25 to $118.75 per cwt on a live basis, steady to up $1.50, some with extended pick-up.  In the South, cattle sold at $117.75 to $118.00, steady to up $1.00.

Cash cattle subsequently traded at $117 to $120 on a live basis, down $1 to up $2 from the bulk of last week’s action.  No dressed-basis sales were reported but traded last week at $188.

The USDA’s choice cutout Wednesday was down $2.55 per cwt at $212.69, while select was off $1.78 at $198.73.  The choice/select spread narrowed to $13.96 from $14.73 with 133 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Tuesday was $148.72 per cwt, down $0.44.  This compares with Wednesday’s Aug settlement at $151.75, up $4.50.