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WASDE: 2018 Beef Production Forecast Raised As Higher Cattle Placements In Late 2017
LIVESTOCK, POULTRY, AND DAIRY: The estimate of 2017 total red meat and poultry production is reduced from last month. Based on preliminary data, beef and turkey production estimates are lowered, more than offsetting higher pork and broiler production. The egg production estimate is raised modestly on late-2017 production data. For 2018, the total red meat and poultry production forecast is raised as higher expected pork, beef, and  broiler production offsets lower turkey production. The 2018 beef production forecast is raised as higher cattle placements in late 2017 are expected to result in higher fed cattle marketings and slaughter in the first half of 2018. Average carcass weights are also expected to be heavier. USDA will release its semi-annual Cattle report on January 31, providing estimates of heifers held for breeding and an insight into the number of feeder cattle available for placement during 2018. The pork production forecast for 2018 is raised. USDA’s Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report estimated the September-November pig crop was 3 percent above 2016 which supports a higher first half production forecast. The report also indicated producers expect to expand farrowings about 3 percent in the first half of the year which, coupled with continued gains in pigs per litter, supports higher second-half production. Forecast broiler production is raised for 2018 on favorable returns. Turkey production is reduced based on continued weak demand. The egg production forecast is raised slightly. Beef imports are increased for 2017 on increased shipments from Oceania. No change is made to exports. Pork exports for 2017 are raised reflecting the pace of trade to date but no change is made to pork imports. Broiler imports and exports are raised for 2017, reflecting recent trade data. For 2018,  livestock, broiler, and egg trade forecasts remain unchanged from last month.
 
Livestock and poultry price estimates for 2017 are adjusted to reflect December price data. For 2018, the cattle price is raised, reflecting early-year price strength. The first-quarter 2018 hog price forecast is raised, reflecting recent price strength and firm demand. First and second quarter broiler and egg price forecasts are raised as well on recent price strength and continued strong demand. Turkey price forecasts for 2018 are lowered on recent price movements and continued weakness in demand.
 
The milk production estimate for 2017 is reduced on recent data. For 2018, the milk production estimate is reduced on slower anticipated growth in the dairy cow herd combined with continued slow growth in milk per cow. Fat basis imports for 2017 are reduced on slower butter imports, but exports are raised on solid global demand for U.S. butter and other dairy products. Skim-solids basis imports are reduced modestly while exports are raised on strong demand for skim milk powder and several other products. For 2018, the fat basis import forecast is reduced on slowing demand for butter products, while the export forecast is raised on expected robust foreign demand for U.S. fat-containing products. On a skim-solids basis, the 2018 import forecast is reduced on weak demand for U.S. milk protein concentrates. The 2018 skim-solids basis export forecast is raised reflecting stronger demand for a number of products.
 
Dairy product prices for 2017 are adjusted for December data. For 2018, all dairy product prices are reduced on slowing domestic demand and global competition. The Class III and Class IV price forecasts for 2018 are reduced on lower product prices. The all milk price is lowered to $15.80 to $16.60 per cwt for 2018.