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USDA Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook

17 December 2014

USDA Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook December 2014USDA Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook December 2014

Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook

Beef/Cattle: Producers have an incentive to increase the weights of their animals as the markets for steers, heifers, and cows have reached record-high prices and feed prices have been moderate. Many producers have exercised options of keeping their cattle on pasture longer, and due to lower grain prices, keeping cattle on feed for longer periods. Total commercial cow slaughter for 2014 is shaping up at about 14 percent of the January 1, 2014 total cow inventory, somewhat below typical slaughter during an expansionary phase of a cattle cycle. This suggests that cow-calf producers may be having a hard time deciding to retain heifers for breeding, foregoing current income for future income.

Beef/Cattle Trade: U.S. cattle imports were stronger during October than in the same period a year earlier. The forecast for U.S. cattle imports in 2014 was raised to 2.325 million head due to higher feeder cattle imports this year. U.S. beef imports continue to rise, mostly due to higher shipments from Australia, while cumulative-year exports remained slightly above last year's level through October.

Pork/Hogs: USDA adjusted commercial pork production upwards as hog marketing rates accelerated in November and early December. Fourth-quarter hog prices are expected to be $67-$68 per hundredweight (cwt) US pork exports were almost 12 percent lower than a year ago, likely due to relatively high U.S. pork prices and reduced competitiveness from a higher valued U.S. dollar exchange rate. The same 2 factors likely account for higher U.S. pork imports in October; pork imports were more than 40 percent higher than a year ago.

Poultry: Production of broiler meat totaled 3.5 billion pounds in October, 1.4 percent higher than the previous year. This increase pushed the year-to-date total for the first 10 months of 2014 to 32.3 billion pounds, 1.5 percent higher than during the same period in 2013. Turkey meat production in October totaled 562 million pounds, 9 percent more than a year earlier. This follows a 12-percent increase in production in September. At the beginning of November, wholesale prices for Grade A large eggs in the New York market were in the mid-$1.30’s per dozen, but over the 4 weeks since then, prices have spiked to just under $2.20 per dozen.

Poultry Trade: Turkey and egg and egg product shipments in October were up from a year ago, while broiler shipments were down slightly. Broiler shipments totaled 652.9 million pounds in October 2014, a decrease of 3.3 percent from a year earlier. Turkey shipments increased 10.0 percent from a year ago, totaling 85.4 million pounds, while egg and egg product exports totaled 37.7 million dozen in October 2014, a 20.2-percent increase from the previous October.

Sheep/Lamb: Choice slaughter lamb prices at San Angelo, Texas have maintained their strength so far throughout 2014. This is in response to slightly lower lamb and mutton production in 2014. Fourth-quarter 2014 commercial production of lamb and mutton is forecast at 37 million pounds, down nearly 3 percent from the same period in 2013. Imports of lamb and mutton remain strong despite record stocks held in cold storage.

Dairy: U.S. wholesale prices of nonfat dry milk (NDM) and cheddar cheese declined substantially in November. With the recent downward movement of these prices and relatively low foreign export prices for dairy products, price forecasts for the last quarter of 2014 and for 2015 have been lowered for NDM, cheddar cheese, and farm milk. The all-milk price forecast for 2015 is $18.45 - $19.25 per hundredweight (cwt), a reduction from last month’s forecast of $18.85 - $19.75 per cwt

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