The U.S. meat sector is set to grow this year but HPAI could impact those numbers

In 2023, U.S. meat production failed to post a year-over-year increase, the first time since 2014. This year, livestock analysts say production growth will hardly be measurable.

In 2023, U.S. meat production failed to post a year-over-year increase, the first time since 2014. This year, livestock analysts say production growth will hardly be measurable.

USDA’s Shayle Shagam says the entire meat sector will see growth of less than one-tenth of a percent and is set to land around 107 million pounds. Pork and broiler meat will see some growth, but the largest shift will be in beef production. Shagam says that is because of the ongoing drought and its toll on supplies. When it comes to prices, he says the results will vary.

“In terms of prices, we are talking about a record high cattle price of about $180 a hundredweight, which is about two to 3% higher than it was a year ago. Hog prices would be driven higher, largely supported by expected increases in demand, both domestic and international. A little bit higher poultry price, boiler price is being driven by some increased demand in the U.S. offset to a lesser extent by some declines in sales overseas. Turkey has generally weak prices through most of 2024, being driven by demand. So we’re looking at a double-digit decline in turkey prices.”

It is not just turkey prices that are expected to go down. Production is also taking a hit because of recent cases of High-Path Avian Flu. Just this month, more than 125,000 turkeys across the U.S. have been hit by the virus that has been sweeping the nation for the last two years.

USDA’s Chief Veterinarian says despite this outbreak’s length, it is important to keep bio-security procedures tight because wild birds still pose a threat.

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