WASDE Lowers 2017 Meat Production Outlook

The USDA’s World Agriculture Outlook Board Friday lowered its outlook for total 2017 US meat and poultry production from last month but raised it for 2018.

The Board’s monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report showed reduced production estimates for beef, pork, chicken and turkey for this year from the report in May.  Estimates for 2018, however, showed expectations for continued gains.




The new 2017 beef production estimate was 26.225 billion pounds, down 85 million, or 0.32%, from 26.310 billion in the May report.  However, this was up 1.004 billion, or 3.98%, from 25.221 billion pounds last year.

The report said its beef production estimate for 2017 was lowered primarily on lighter carcass weights, which more than offset higher expected slaughter in the later part of the year.

A Livestock Marketing Information Center graph of federally inspected slaughter steer weights through the last week of May dropped below last year and the previous five-year average the first week of May and has paralleled the average since then.

Expectations for larger feedlot placements in coming months supported a higher 2018 beef production forecast, the WASDE report said.

National Agricultural Statistics Service data indicate monthly feedlot placements this year have been higher than last year in all months except February and have been above the 2011-2015 average all year.  The data also show a widening gap in monthly placements.

Beef export forecasts for this year and 2018 were left unchanged at 2.806 billion pounds and 2.835 billion, respectively.




Pork production expectations for 2017 were lowered from last month on the current pace of second-quarter slaughter and lighter carcass weights, the WASDE report said.  No changes were made to the 2018 forecast of 26.910 billion pounds.

The new 2017 pork production forecast was 25.894 billion pounds, down 160 million, or 0.61%, from the May projection of 26.054 billion.  However, this was up 953 million pounds, or 3.82%, from 2016’s production of 24.941 billion.

Federally inspected hog slaughter remains above year-earlier and the 2011-2015 average and is following seasonal trends, Agricultural Marketing Service and NASS data show.  However, actual slaughter is falling short of previous estimates.

The pork export forecast for 2017 was left unchanged from last month at 5.747 billion pounds, but the import forecast was raised to 1.064 billion from May’s estimate of 1.039 billion.  No changes were made to the 2018 pork trade forecasts of 5.965 billion pounds in exports and 935 million in imports.




Cattle and hog price forecasts for 2017 were raised from last month’s report on price strength to date and continued strength in the third quarter, the WASDE report said.

The steer price forecast was $122 to $126 per cwt on a live basis, compared with $120 to $125 in May.

The hog price outlook was raised to $46 to $48 per cwt from $44 to $46 on expected strong packer demand.




The weekly livestock exchange video auction sold two pens at an average of $136.75 per cwt on a live basis, up $4.57 from $132.18 last week.  A little subsequent cash trading was reported at $220 per cwt on a dressed basis.  Most action took place on Friday at $136 to mostly $137.

The USDA’s choice cutout Friday was up $0.82 per cwt at $251.21, while select was up $0.28 at $220.29.  The choice/select spread widened to $30.92 from $30.38 with 89 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Thursday was $154.91 per cwt, up $0.80.  This compares with Friday’s Aug settlement at $154.17, up $0.22.