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USDA Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook

17 March 2015

USDA Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook - March 2015USDA Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook - March 2015

Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook

Beef/Cattle: Despite continuing drought in the Southwestern United States, winter precipitation has kept feeder cattle on Southern Plains wheat pasture. Placements of heavier feeder cattle in feedlots during the first and second quarters, combined with heavier average dressed weights for cows, could mitigate anticipated declines in cattle slaughter. Despite record retail beef prices, recent declines in live cattle prices have not resulted in significantly wider packer margins.

Beef/Cattle Trade: U.S. cattle imports were weaker during January than in the same period a year earlier. U.S. beef imports in January were 63.7 percent higher than the previous year, mostly due to higher shipments from Australia, while January beef exports were below those of last year.

Pork/Hogs: USDA increased first-quarter 2015 pork production slightly, to reflect larger than expected February hog slaughter and heavier average dressed weights. January pork exports were off sharply—21.4 percent—due in part to labor disputes at Pacific U.S. port facilities that limited shipments to Asia. Pork imports were up sharply, due in large part to the higher exchange rate value of the U.S dollar, which tends to lower foreign product prices. Retail pork prices are exhibiting stickiness even as wholesale pork prices decline.

Poultry: Broiler meat production for 2015 is estimated at 40 billion pounds, up 75 million from the previous estimate. Production increased by 5 percent in January due to an increase in the number of birds slaughtered and growth in average live weights. Turkey meat production for 2015 is forecast at 6.1 billion, up 6 percent from the previous year. With higher production, turkey cold storage holdings at the end of January rose to 280 million pounds. Table egg production continues to expand and production in January was 619 million dozen, up 1 percent from a year earlier.

Poultry Trade: Turkey and egg and egg product shipments in January were up from a year ago, while broiler shipments were down compared with a year earlier. Broiler shipments totaled 529.2 million pounds in January 2015, a decrease of 12.4 percent from a year earlier. Turkey shipments increased 2.4 percent from a year ago, totaling 51.9 million pounds, while egg and egg product exports totaled 33.7 million dozen in January 2015, a 26.0-percent increase from the previous January.

Dairy: Milk production for 2015 is forecast at 211.1 billion pounds, 2.5 percent higher than the 2014 level of 206.0 billion pounds, but 0.4 billion pounds less than forecast last month. The Class III milk price forecast is lowered to $15.95-$16.55 per hundredweight (cwt) due to lower whey prices, and the Class IV milk price forecast is raised to $15.30-$16.00 per cwt due to higher butter and nonfat dry milk prices. The all-milk price for 2015 is forecast at $17.05-$17.65 per cwt, a decrease from last month’s forecast of $17.40-$18.10 per cwt.

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