USDA Trims Meat Production Estimates

The USDA adjusted its red meat and poultry supply and use estimates for 2023 to reflect December production, ending stocks and trade data.

All production and per-capita consumption estimates were adjusted downward slightly.

The new figures were released in its monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report Thursday.




For 2023, the beef production forecast was lowered to 26.963 million pounds, down 4,000, or 0.01%, from January’s 26.967-million-pound estimate.  This also was down 1.328 million, or 4.69%, from 2022’s final production total of 28.291 million pounds.

For 2024, the beef production forecast was raised from last month to 26.185 million pounds from 26.110 million, a dip of 75,000 pounds, or 0.29%.  The slaughter estimate was lowered for the first half, reflecting a slower pace of cattle marketings.

For the second half of 2024, the steer and heifer slaughter estimate was raised as USDA’s January Cattle (inventory) report implied a smaller decline in cattle outside feedlots than expected and to the extent these cattle are placed on feed in the first half, they likely will be marketed and slaughtered in the second half.

Forecasted carcass weights for the second half of 2024 also were raised.

Beef import forecasts for 2024 were raised to 4.125 million pounds from January’s 3.770 million on firm demand for imported beef and larger supplies, largely in Oceania.  The beef export forecast was unchanged at 2.785 million pounds.




Pork production last year was estimated at 27.301 million pounds, down from 27.302 million in January.  However, this was up from 2022’s production of 26.996 million by 305,000 pounds, or 1.13%.

The pork production estimate for 2024 was lowered on an expected slower pace of slaughter.  The new estimate is 27.880 million pounds, down from January’s estimate of 27.970 million by 90,000 pounds, or 0.32%.

The 2024 pork export forecast was raised to 7.080 million pounds from 6.870 million on the pace of exports in late 2023 and expectations of continued firm demand in a number of key markets.




The 2023 broiler production estimate was cut from January to 46,383 million pounds from 46.423 million by 40,000 pounds, or 0.09%.  But this was up 177,000, or 0.38%, from 2022’s 46.206 million.

The broiler production forecast for 2024 was raised for the first quarter on expectations of heavier bird weights.

The broiler export forecast was reduced to 7.215 million pounds from 7.285 million on higher US prices and weaker import demand.




The USDA reported formula and contract base prices for live FOB steers and heifers this week ranged from $175.15 per cwt to $180.00, compared with last week’s range of $172.98 to $178.85 per cwt.  FOB dressed steers, and heifers went for $275.52 per cwt to $283.80, compared with $272.94 to $280.41.

The USDA choice cutout Thursday was up $0.03 per cwt at $295.01 while select was down $1.30 at $284.12.  The choice/select spread widened to $10.89 from $9.56 with 108 loads of fabricated product and 24 loads of trimmings and grinds sold into the spot market.

The USDA said basis bids for corn from feeders in the Southern Plains were unchanged at $1.35 to $1.45 a bushel over the Mar corn contract, which settled at $4.33 1/4 a bushel, down $0.03.

No delivery intentions were posted Thursday for the Feb live cattle contract.

The CME Feeder Cattle Index for the seven days ended Wednesday was $242.11 per cwt, up $1.49.  This compares with Thursday’s Mar contract settlement of $246.85, up $1.30.