USDA lowered its production forecasts for beef, pork and poultry in 2010, while raising its export forecasts for beef and pork during both 2009 and 2010 in its latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report.

For 2010, USDA expects reduced hog slaughter on lower expected hog imports from Canada. The agency said it expects cattle slaughter to be unchanged but carcass weights to be lower in the first quarter. Growth in broiler and turkey production are expected to slow, as hatchery data show few signs of expansion.

The agency raised 2009 pork exports to 4.176 billion pounds from 4.135 billion last month and raised 2010 exports to 4.6 billion from 4.45 billion, noting fourth quarter 2009 exports were stronger than expected and improved economic prospects in several markets.

USDA raised its beef export forecast for 2009 to 1.846 billion pounds from 1.825 last month and raised 2010 exports to 1.985 from 1.925 billion based on expected economic recovery in a number of markets.

USDA lowered its cattle price forecasts for both 2009 and 2010 as relatively weak demand for beef is expected to pressure prices. USDA now estimates the price for choice steers (Nebraska direct 1,100-1,300 lbs) in 2009 to average $82.95 per hundredweight, down from $83.32 estimated in its November report. Cattle prices in 2010 are now forecast in a range of $86 to $93 per hundredweight, down from a range of $87 to $94 forecast a month ago.

Source: Meat Trade Daily News