USDA Trims 2015 Total Meat Estimate Slightly

The USDA Tuesday trimmed its estimate of 2015 total meat production from its November estimate as lower pork, broiler and turkey production more than offset an increase in beef production estimates.

In its monthly World Supply and Demand Estimates report, the 2015 meat production forecast was reduced to 48.420 billion pounds from 48.424 billion in the December report, a decline of only 4 million pounds or 0.01%.  However, the new estimate still was up 1.075 billion, or 2.27%, from 2014’s production of 47.345 billion.

The 2016 meat production forecast was raised from 2015 as lower-than-expected placements of young cattle into feedlots late in 2015 were expected to yield fewer slaughter cattle.

The new estimate of 2016 total meat production was 49.794 billion pounds, down 40.0 million, or 0.08%, from the 49.834 billion December estimate.  The new estimate also is down 1.374 billion, or 2.84%, from the new 2015 estimate.




The USDA said higher cattle slaughter late last year resulted in an elevated beef production estimate.  Beef production for 2015 was estimated at 23.700 million pounds, up 35 million, or 0.15%, from the December estimate of 23.665 billion.

However, the 2015 year-over-year beef production estimate was lowered 552 million pounds, or 2.28%, from 24.252 billion in 2014.

The USDA estimated 2016 beef production at 24.605 billion pounds, down 75 million, or 0.30%, from the December estimate of 24.680 billion, but up 905 million, or 3.82%, from the new 2015 estimate of 23.7 billion.

The estimated 2015 average price for fed steers in the Plains states were raised slightly to $148.12 per cwt from the December estimate of $148.07, but this kept it below the 2014 price of $154.56.  For 2016, the average annual price was lowered again to a range of $132 to $142, although this was unchanged from the December report.




The USDA reduced its forecast for 2015 pork production from its December estimate as end-of-year slaughter was lower than expected.  The new forecast of 24,488 billion pounds is down 40 million or 0.16%, from the previous estimate of 24.528 billion.

However, the new 2015 pork production estimate still was 1.645 billion pounds, or 7.20%, above 2014 production of 22.843 billion.

The USDA also raised its estimate of 2016 pork production, even after the Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report on Dec. 23 indicated producers intended to farrow slightly fewer hogs in the first half of the year.

That could limit the growth in the pig crop despite growth in the number of pigs per litter, and higher carcass weights could support increased pork production, the USDA said.

The estimated 2015 annual price for barrows and gilts was estimated at $50.23 per cwt, down slightly from the $50.44 December estimate and down $25.80, or 33.9%, from 2014’s $76.03.  The estimated price for 2016 fell even further to a range of $46 to $49, a decline of about 5.43% from 2015.