Reflective of the anticipated reduced corn use for feed and residual usage in 2012-13, US meat and poultry production for 2013 was forecast lower in April, resulting in a minor change from 2012 volumes. According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates, poor pasture conditions continued to push more cows to slaughter, which is expected to partly offset the fall in fed cattle and bull turn-off in 2013. US beef production this year is forecast to decline 4pc on 2012, to 11.29 million tonnes cwt.
Partly offsetting the lower beef production was an estimated 16pc rise in beef imports in 2013, most of which was projected to be shipped from Australia and New Zealand. US beef exports have also been revised down for 2013, with a 1.2pc year-on-year contraction on 2012.
US pork production was forecast higher in April, to increase 1pc on 2012, assisted by a slightly higher-than-expected first quarter pig crop and anticipated heavier carcase. Meanwhile, broiler production was projected slightly lower this month to reflect the lower production during the March quarter. US broiler production in 2013 is expected to remain 2pc above year ago levels.
While the tight cattle supply in 2013 will keep beef prices elevated from 2012 levels, and the strong demand for lower-priced protein will continue to boost broiler values, hog prices are expected to step back on the base of higher inventory and weaker exports.