Red Meat Weights on Production Forecasts

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Lower beef and pork production at the close of 2017, and into 2018, dragged down the USDA’s projections in its latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report, even as expectations for broiler production increased.

Beef production is lowered on the current pace of cattle slaughter and lighter carcass weights for the last quarter of 2017. As well, beef production is forecast lower in 2018, reflecting slightly lighter carcass weights.

The beef exports are forecast higher for 2017 on strong global demand which is expected to carry into first-quarter 2018. Imports projections are left unchanged.

The cattle price forecast for 2017 is lowered on recent prices, to a range of between $116 and $119 for the fourth quarter, but the 2018 cattle price forecast is unchanged from the previous month, at a range of between $113 and $120 per cwt.

The pork production forecast is lowered on smaller-than-anticipated hog slaughter in the fourth quarter of 2017, although partly offset by higher carcass weights.

For 2018, pork production projections are reduced slightly as fractionally heavier first-quarter carcass weights only partially offset smaller-than-expected hog slaughter. USDA will release its Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report on December 22 which will provide an indication of producers’ farrowing intentions into the first half of 2018.

No change is made to pork trade forecasts, either imports or exports. The hog price forecast for the end of 2017 and into 2018 are raised on recent demand strength, which is expected to carry into next year. WASDE now projects a price of $50.38 cwt for all of 2017, and a range of between $46 and $49 per cwt in 2018.

The broiler forecast for the end of 2017 is raised on a revision to third-quarter production data, while turkey production forecast is unchanged from the previous month. Forecasts for both broiler and turkey production in 2018 are unchanged from levels in November.

While turkey exports are expected to climb in 2018, there is no change forecast for broiler trade data. The broiler price forecast is lowered for 2017, to a range of 0.85 and 0.86 cents per lb., but the forecast is unchanged for 2018, with a projected range of between 0.85 and 0.92 cents per lb.

Turkey price forecasts, however, are lowered for 2017 and 2018 on relatively weak demand, coming in at 0.957 cents per lb. for the end of 2017, and a range of 0.93 and $1 per lb. in 2018.

Corn, soybeans
December’s 2017-18 U.S. corn outlook raises the corn used to produce ethanol by 50 million bushels to 5.525 billion, with ending stocks down 50 million bushels from last month. However, the projected season-average farm price is unchanged this month at a midpoint of $3.20 per bushel; the range is narrowed 5 cents on each end to $2.85 to $3.55 per bushel.

Soybean exports in 2017-18 are reduced 25 million bushels to 2,225 million on stronger-than-expected competition from Argentina and Brazil during the first quarter of the marketing year.

The U.S. season-average soybean price range for 2017-18 is narrowed to $8.60 to $10 per bushel.


Source:, 12/12/17

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