LIVESTOCK, POULTRY, AND DAIRY: The 2018 forecast for total red meat and poultry production is lowered from last month as forecasts for all major meats are reduced. The beef production forecast is reduced from the previous month on lower first-half slaughter and lighter weights, but this decline is partly offset by higher expected third-quarter slaughter. Pork production is raised for the first quarter based on estimated production data, but lowered for outlying quarters on a slower pace of
slaughter and lighter carcass weights. The USDA Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report of March 29, estimated producers farrowed 2 percent more sows during December to February and indicated intentions to farrow about 2 percent more sows in March to May. These hogs will be ready for slaughter in the second half of 2018. Broiler and turkey production is reduced on recent hatchery data. First-quarter egg production is reduced on recent production data but no change is made to the outlying quarters. For 2018, beef imports and exports are unchanged from last month. The pork import forecast is unchanged. Pork exports are reduced on weaker expected exports to China although exports to other markets are expected to increase. No change is made to broiler or turkey exports.
Cattle and hog price forecasts are reduced from last month as demand for cattle and hogs has softened and supplies are expected to be large in the coming quarters. The broiler price forecast is raised from last month as stronger demand in the first quarter is expected to carry into subsequent quarters. Turkey prices are reduced through the year on the continued slow recovery in demand. Egg price forecasts are raised on robust demand.
The milk production forecast for 2018 is unchanged from last month. The 2018 import forecast is reduced slightly on a fat basis, but is unchanged on a skim-solids basis. Exports on fat basis are unchanged from last month, but skim-solids-basis exports are raised on stronger sales of nonfat dry milk and skim milk powder, and lactose. The annual product price forecast for cheese is unchanged at the midpoint although the range is narrowed. Butter prices are expected to increase more slowly in the second half of the year and the price forecast is reduced. The nonfat dry milk (NDM) price is reduced slightly on current prices. The annual whey price forecast is lowered on larger supplies and weaker demand. The Class III price is lowered on the lower whey price forecast while the Class IV price is down on lower NDM and butter price forecasts. The all milk price forecast is lowered to $15.60 to $16.10 per cwt.