The 2011 forecast of total red meat and poultry production is raised, reflecting higher beef, pork, and turkey production, but lower broiler production. According to the USDA's latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report, higher than expected third-quarter commercial hog slaughter supports the higher pork production forecast.
Pork production is raised from last month. In the Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report, released on September 28, producers indicated they farrowed about 1 percent fewer sows in June– August and intended to keep farrowings near year-ago levels into early 2012. However, the number of pigs per litter continues to grow and is expected to support increased pig crops and supplies of slaughter hogs in 2012.
The increase in beef production is largely due to higher expected cow slaughter as drought conditions in much of the Southern Plains and high hay prices will likely keep slaughter high. First-quarter beef production is raised slightly but is more than offset by reduced production later in the year as feedlot supplies decline. Broiler production is reduced as broiler price forecasts are weakened.
Pork imports are unchanged from last month but the export forecast for 2012 is reduced slightly as expected increased production in several Asian markets may limit export opportunities later in the year. Broiler exports are raised for 2011 but are unchanged for 2012. Beef import forecasts are lowered in 2011 and 2012 as strong demand for beef by competing importers limits shipments to the United States. The beef export forecast is raised as the strong demand in a number of countries is expected to support continued growth in U.S exports.
Cattle prices are forecast higher for the remainder of 2011 and through 2012. Demand remains stronger-than-expected and the strength is expected to carry into 2012. Hog prices are lowered for the last quarter of 2011 and into 2012 as hog supplies and slaughter are forecast higher. Broiler prices are lowered for 2011 as supplies remain relatively large and demand relatively weak. The pace of price recovery in 2012 is expected to be slower than forecast last month.