USDA Sees More 2015 Meat, Poultry Production

The USDA is predicting even more total red meat and poultry production this year than it did last month as higher beef and pork output more than offsets lower turkey production.

The USDA made its outlook known Thursday in its monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report where it left its prediction on chicken production unchanged from January at 40.025 billion pounds, which is 1.475 billion pounds, or 3.83%, above last year’s 38.550 billion.

Estimated beef production for the year is up 150 million pounds, or 0.62%, to 24.210 billion from the January estimate of 24.060 billion on greater cow slaughter and heavier carcass weights for fed cattle.  However, the new estimate is down 42 million, or 0.17%, from last year’s 24.252 billion.

The USDA’s forecast for pork production continued to rise amid greater-than-expected first-quarter hog slaughter and expectations of a larger second-half slaughter.  Production now is estimated at 24.240 billion pounds, up 120 million, or 0.50%, from the January estimate of 24.120 billion, and up 1.396 billion, or 6.11%, from last year’s 22.844 billion.

The USDA’s Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report March 27 showed the December-through-February pig crop was about 9% larger than a year earlier and indicted producers intend to farrow 2% more sows in the March-through-May quarter.

The results of that 2% increase in farrowings will be ready for slaughter late in 2015.

Estimated turkey production was reduced to 6.025 billion pounds from January’s 6.075 billion because slaughter and eggs placed were down for the month.  However, annual turkey production still was estimated to be 269 million, or 4.67%, above last year’s 5.756 billion.




Beef imports for 2015 were raised as demand for processing beef remained strong and the strong US Dollar made importing this lean product more profitable.  The higher greenback also made the US an attractive market for foreign sellers.

It’s interesting that despite the stronger US Dollar, the USDA expected beef exports for the year to rise.  They based their estimate on trade data showing greater exports to date.

Expectations of pork exports were left unchanged from last month, but the forecast for imports was raised on the strength of the Dollar.

As might be expected with the arrival and spread of the highly pathogenic H5N2 avian flu, poultry export projections were down in this latest WASDE report as USDA economists expected more and longer-lasting foreign bans on poultry imports from the US.  A South Dakota turkey flock is the latest to fall victim to this disease.

Turkey export projections also were reduced, based on forecasts for lower production and bans on US product from foreign countries.  The stronger US Dollar also was cited for restricting cross-border demand.




Cash cattle markets in the Plains Thursday remained quiet with bids and offers separated by a wide margin.  Packer bids were reported around $163 to $164 per cwt on a live basis, compared with the bulk of last week’s action at $167 and feed yard asking prices nearer $170.  On a dressed basis, bids were raised to $263 per cwt, compared with last week’s range of $265 to $267 and asking prices of $270 or more.

Wholesale beef prices were mixed Thursday with the market all but reversing Tuesday’s action, although overall it continues to show seasonal tendencies.  The USDA’s choice cutout was down $0.75 per cwt at $258.39, while select was up $1.40 at $252.45.  The choice/select spread narrowed to $5.94.  There were 104 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle Index for the seven days ended Wednesday was $221.00 per cwt, up $0.05.