Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook: Corn-belt dryness tweaks meat sectors

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Farm Forum

Beef/Cattle: Fewer cows in the slaughter mix-especially beef cows-could result in heavier average dressed weights of all cattle through the end of 2013. Large inventories of market-ready fed cattle could put negative pressure on fed-cattle and beef prices through the end of 2013. However, retail beef prices could remain in record or near-record territory.

Beef/Cattle Trade: U.S. beef exports through July are up 3 percent from a year earlier while beef imports are down 2 percent. The 2013 forecast for U.S. cattle imports was lowered to 1.9 million head amid falling shipments from Mexico. Cattle imports are down 20 percent for the year.

Pork/Hogs: In the second half, both pork production and hog prices are expected to be year-over-year higher, indicating strong demand for pork. With July pork exports year-over-year higher for the first time this year, it appears that foreign demand for U.S. pork is rebounding and likely contributing to strong pork demand.

Sheep/Lamb: Third-quarter lamb and mutton production is forecast at 41 million pounds, an increase of about 5 percent from the previous year and the highest quarterly production so far for 2013. However, while increased production is normally a signal of increased lamb consumption, a large proportion of lamb and mutton is still held in cold storage each month.

Poultry: U.S. broiler meat production estimate for 2013 was increased by 75 million pounds as chick placements for growout continued to expand. Over the last 5 weeks, an average of 165 million broiler chicks were placed weekly for growout, up 2.4 percent from the previous year. Turkey meat production in July was 515 million pounds, 4 percent higher than a year earlier, as both the number of turkeys slaughtered and their average weight were higher.

Poultry Trade: Broiler and egg products shipments in July were up from a year ago, while turkey exports were down slightly. Broiler shipments totaled 618.6 million pounds in July 2013, an increase of 3 percent from a year earlier. Turkey shipments decreased 0.6 percent from a year ago, totaling 64.6 million pounds, while egg exports totaled 31.2 million dozen in July 2013, a 32-percent increase from last July.

Dairy: September forecasts for milk production were reduced slightly from August for the current year and unchanged for 2014. Milk production is forecast to climb in 2014 compared with this year on moderating feed prices and higher milk prices. Higher exports of cheese, butter, and nonfat dry milk and tighter stocks support the increased milk prices in 2014.