WASDE Estimates US Meat Production Higher

The USDA World Outlook Board’s latest estimate for 2017 meat production was increased from February as higher forecast beef production estimates more than offset lower forecasts for pork and turkey production.  The broiler production estimate was unchanged from February.

The new figures came in the WOB’s latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report Thursday.




US beef production for the year was estimated to be 26.25 billion pounds, up 25 million from the February report and up 1.04 billion, or 4.13%, from last year’s estimated 25.21 billion pounds.

The first-quarter beef production estimate was raised on current slaughter data, WASDE said.  The latest estimate for the quarter was 6.085 billion pounds, up 15 million, or 2.53%, from last year’s first-quarter rate of 5.935 billion.

Second-quarter beef production was estimated at 6.605 billion pounds, down 418 million, or 6.76%, from 6.187 billion last year.

Estimated third-quarter production was raised as higher expected first-quarter placements are marketed in the second half of the year.  The new estimate was 6.910 billion pounds, up 442 million, or 6.83%, from 6.468 billion in the 2016 quarter.

Fourth-quarter production was seen at 6.650 billion pounds, up 27 million, or 0.41%, from 6.623 billion in the same quarter last year.

However, carcass weights for the year were forecast lower as feedlot operators were expected to remain current in their marketings.  This kept a lid on expected beef production for the year.

Annual average beef prices were expected to range from $114 to $121 per cwt, up from last year’s $120.86 as prices through the third quarter fail to measure up to 2016.




Estimated pork production for the year was placed at 26.105 billion pounds, down from last month’s estimate of 26.170 billion, but up 1.166 billion, or 4.68%, from last year’s total of 24.939 billion.

First-quarter production was seen at 6.400 billion pounds, up 170 billion, or 2.73%, from 6.230 billion in the 2016 quarter.

The second-quarter pork production estimate rose 358 million pounds, or 6.00%, to 6.320 billion pounds from 5.962 billion last year.

Third-quarter production was placed at 6.415 billion pounds, up 316 million, or 5.18%, from 6.099 billion in the year-ago quarter.

Pork production in the fourth quarter was estimated at 6.970 billion pounds, up 323 million, or 4.86%, from 6.647 billion a year earlier.

As with beef, hog carcass weights were expected to be lower for the year, especially in the first half, capping otherwise higher pork production.

Annual average hog prices were expected to range from $43 to $46 per cwt, compared with 2016’s $46.16.  Prices were expected to be weakest in the second and third quarters, with first-quarter averages above a year earlier.




Cash cattle traded Wednesday $1 per cwt lower than last week at mostly $124 to $125 on a live basis.  However, some were trading late in the day at $126 to $127 in Nebraska, steady to up $1.  Dressed-basis trades came in at $200 to $202, versus $200 to $201 last week.

Average fed cattle exchange auction prices Wednesday were $1.31 per cwt lower at $123.68, versus $124.99 a week earlier.

The USDA’s choice cutout Thursday was up $1.95 per cwt at $215.56, while select was up $1.71 at $209.00.  The choice/select spread widened to $6.56 from $6.32 with 78 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle Index for the seven days ended Wednesday was $127.00 per cwt, up $0.05.  This compares with Thursday’s Mar settlement of $126.15, up $1.77.