USDA expects record meat production across the board this year

USDA expects record meat production across the board this year.

USDA economists provide the latest livestock outlook, during the 97th annual Ag Outlook Forum.

Seanicaa Herron says that 2021 beef production is forecast at 27.5 billion pounds, up 1.4 percent over last year.

“That’s primarily on higher cattle slaughter, higher heifer slaughter as well... but also forecasting heavier carcass weights and that’s on an average basis, not necessarily on a quarterly basis looking year over year, but if you look at it on an annual basis, we’re anticipating beef production of cattle weights to be higher year over year,” Herron explains.

She says that beef exports are expected to reach 3.1 billion pounds this year, while pork exports could fall by 1.5 percent, as China’s domestic hog herd rebounds from African swine fever.

At the same time, pork production is expected to rise.

According to Herron, “The expectations of larger pig crop and increases and growth in pigs per litter is anticipated to support higher pork production for 2021; USDA is forecasting pork production at 28.7 billion pounds. That’s up approximately 1.4 percent relative to 2020.”

For the poultry industry, she says that bigger birds will drive production up to a record 44.9 billion pounds, supported by strong export demand.

“Broiler exports for 2021 are also forecast higher, approximately 3 percent, and this is basically on the premise or the spillover demand, import demand from China, and also gradual recover in global economic conditions from the COVID-19 pandemic,” she adds.

For all livestock sectors, she says that feed costs will continue to be important with corn forecast at $4.30 per bushel and soybean meal at $400 dollars per ton for the year.