WASDE Raises Total Meat Production Forecast

The USDA’s World Outlook Board Thursday raised its forecast for 2019 total red meat and poultry production from last month, as higher broiler production more than offset slightly lower beef and turkey production.

The new forecast came in the monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report.

In the report 2019 pork production was left unchanged, while the beef production estimate was reduced from the September report on a slower-than-expected pace of fed cattle slaughter.

Hatchery and slaughter data supports an increase in expected broiler production, while the turkey production forecast was lowered on a slower pace of third-quarter production.

For 2020, the total red meat and poultry production forecast was raised to 50.841 billion pounds from 50.476 billion in September on higher expected pork and broiler production.




Beef production is showing signs of topping with the 2019 forecast down slightly from last month and the 2020 forecast unchanged, although higher than this year.

The 2019 beef production forecast was pegged at 26.948 billion pounds, down five million, or 0.02%, from the September forecast of 26.953 billion.

The expected 2020 beef production level of 27.670 billion pounds was unchanged from September.  However, a slower pace of placements in third-quarter 2019 was expected to result in lower first-quarter beef production but higher second quarter production.

The 2019 beef import forecast was left unchanged at 3.030 billion pounds, but the forecast level of exports was reduced 15 million, or 0.48%, to 3.126 billion from 3.141 billion, reflecting recent trade data.

For 2020, beef import forecasts were reduced 90 million pounds, or 3.04%, to 2.870 billion from 2.960 billion, reflecting tighter supplies from other countries and strong demand for beef by competing importers.  Export estimates were raised 60 million pounds, or 1.85%, to 3.305 billion pounds from 3.245 billion on firm global demand and tightness in supplies from other countries.

The steer price forecast for 2019 was raised to $115.50 per cwt from $113.50 on current price strength; this increase in price strength was carried into early 2020.




This year’s pork production estimate was left unchanged from September at 27.578 billion pounds.

However, the 2020 pork production estimate was raised 270 million, or 0.95%, to 28.680 billion from 28.410 a month ago.  The higher 2020 forecast was based on expected growth in pigs per litter, which would mean increased availability of slaughter hogs.

The 2019 and 2020 pork export forecasts were raised from the September report on recent trade data and strong demand US products.  The new 2019 forecast was 6.580 billion pounds, up from 6.530 billion in September, a gain of 50 million, or 0.77%.

The new 2020 pork export forecast was placed at 7.300 billion pounds, up 235 million, or 0.33%, from 7.065 billion in September.

The 2019 and 2020 pork import forecasts were left unchanged at 956 and 915 million pounds, respectively.




Cash cattle trade last week ranged from $106 per cwt on a live basis early up to $108 late in the week, up $1 to $3 from the previous week.  Dressed-basis trade was at mostly $170, up $5.

The USDA choice cutout Thursday was up $1.03 per cwt at $215.63, while select was up $0.54 at $186.66.  The choice/select spread widened to $28.97 from $24.48 with 87 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

No cattle were posted Wednesday for delivery against the Oct contract.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Tuesday was $144.65 per cwt, up $0.65 from the previous day.  This compares with Thursday’s Oct contract settlement of $144.30, down $0.20.