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WASDE: Total Red Meat & Poultry Production Forecasts Fractionally Lower Than Last Month

LIVESTOCK, POULTRY, AND DAIRY: The 2018 forecast for total red meat and poultry production is fractionally lower than last month, as lower beef production more than offsets higher pork and turkey production. Broiler production is unchanged. The beef production forecast is reduced from the previous month on lower first-quarter slaughter and lower weights. However, the decline is offset somewhat by higher second-quarter fed beef production and higher non-fed beef production during the first half of the year. Pork production is lowered for the first half of the year on a slower pace of slaughter, but higher carcass weights are expected and second-half production is increased. USDA will release the Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report on March 29th, providing an indication of producer intentions for farrowings in the next two quarters. First-quarter egg production is reduced on recent hatchery data. Estimates of 2017 broiler, turkey meat, and egg supply and utilization are adjusted to reflect revised annual production and storage summary data.
For 2018, beef imports are raised as early-year demand remains robust. No change is made to beef exports. The pork import forecast is raised on expected demand strength. Export forecasts are also raised from last month. Broiler exports are unchanged, but turkey exports are reduced slightly on weaker expected demand in key markets. Cattle and hog prices for the first quarter of 2018 are raised from last month on current price movements. The second-quarter broiler price forecast is raised from last month on stronger expected demand. Turkey prices are reduced through the third quarter on the continued slow recovery in demand. Egg price forecasts are raised on robust demand. The milk production forecast for 2018 is raised from last month on more rapid growth in milk per cow in the first half of the year. The 2018 imports on a fat and skim-solids basis are reduced on slower sales of a number of processed dairy products. Exports on fat basis are raised on increased cheese sales and exports on a skim-solids basis are raised on stronger sales of both cheese and whey products. The supply and use estimates are adjusted to reflect revisions to 2016 and 2017 milk production and 2017 storage data. 
Annual product price forecasts for cheese and butter are raised from the previous month as recent prices have increased. However, continued large supplies of nonfat dry milk (NDM) are expected to pressure NDM prices, and the forecast is reduced. No change is made to the annual whey price forecast. The Class III price is raised on the cheese price projection, while the Class IV price is down, as the lower NDM price more than offsets a higher butter price forecast. The all milk price is forecast at $15.75 to $16.35 per cwt, unchanged at the midpoint.