WASDE Lowers Meat, Poultry Production Outlook

The USDA’s World Outlook Board Friday lowered its estimate of total red meat and poultry production for 2018 to 102.377 billion pounds from its December estimate of 102.580 billion as beef and broiler production more than offset slightly higher pork production.

The estimates were made in the latest World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates report.  January’s report was not published because of the partial government shutdown.

The 2019 total red meat and poultry production forecast was lowered to 104.741 billion pounds from December’s 105.431 billion on lower expectations for beef, pork and broiler production.

Livestock and poultry prices for 2018 were adjusted to reflect December price data.




Beef production for 2018 was reduced to 26.864 billion pounds from 26.939 billion in December on lower cattle slaughter and lighter carcass weights through late December.  The new number, however, was above 2017’s 26.187 billion pounds.

The 2019 beef production forecast was reduced to 27.610 billion pounds from 27.785 billion on lower projections for slaughter as smaller-than-anticipated placements in late 2018 and early 2019 were expected to result in lower fed cattle marketings and slaughter in the first half of this year.

For 2018 and 2019, beef import and export forecasts were lowered from December as trade data indicated less overseas activity.  Last year’s imports were put at 2.994 billion pounds from the December estimate of 3.004 billion.  This compares with the 2019 estimate of 3.010, down from the December estimate of 3.020 billion.

Beef exports for 2018 were pegged at 3.180 billion pounds, compared with 3.190 billion in the December report.  For 2019, exports were put at 3.255 billion pounds, down from December’s estimate of 3.265 billion.

Fed cattle prices for the first quarter of 2019 were estimated at $122 to $126 per cwt, down from a first-quarter 2018 price of $125, on current prices.




Pork production last year was raised to 26.320 billion pounds from 26.310 billion in December as heavier carcass weights through late December more than offset lower-than-expected fourth-quarter hog slaughter.

The new estimate, however, was above 2017’s 25.584 billion pounds.

The pork production forecast for 2019 was lowered to 27.340 billion pounds from December’s 27.715 billion on lower expectations for hog slaughter and slightly lighter carcass weights in the first half of the year.

Pork export forecasts for 2018 and 2019 were reduced on the lowered forecast of production and slower expected pork shipments to key trading partners.  2018 exports were seen at 5.939 billion pounds, versus December’s 5.984 billion estimate.

For 2019, pork exports were placed at 6.300 billion pounds, down from December’s 6.540-billion-pound estimate.

Hog prices were left unchanged from December at a range of $41 to $44 per cwt, down from 2018’s $45.93.




One hundred sixty-one head of fed cattle sold on the Fed Cattle Video Exchange Wednesday at $124 to $124.50 per cwt.

Cash cattle traded last week at $124 to $125 per cwt on a live basis, steady to up $1 from the previous week, and at $197 to $200 per cwt on a dressed basis, down $1.

The USDA choice cutout Friday was down $1.36 per cwt at $215.35, while select was down $0.36 at $211.17.  The choice/select spread narrowed to $4.18 from $5.18 with 58 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

There were three steer contracts tendered for delivery Friday.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Thursday, was $141.69 per cwt, up $0.28.  This compares with Friday’s Mar contract settlement of $144.10, up $0.85.