Total livestock and poultry production rose less than1% in 2013 as modest declines in beef and pork production plus a sharper decline in turkey production were more than offset by higher broiler production, according to USDA data discussed at the Annual Ag Outlook Forum Friday in Arlington, Va.
Producers are now poised to expand to take advantage of moderating feed costs. However, non-feed cost factors will restrain expansion, resulting in total red meat and poultry production which will be very close to last year's levels and about 1% below the 2008 record.
"Declining cattle inventories and biological lags inherent in the production system restrain cattle expansion," USDA economist Shayle Shagam said at the forum. "The continuing spread of the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus is expected to limit expansion in hogs. Turkey production is forecast to expand only in the second half 2014. That all means the broiler sector will carry the majority of growth in 2014 meat production."
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Demand is expected to be generally favorable in 2014 with an improvement in the domestic economy and continued strength in international markets. Cattle prices are expected to reach record levels. But rising pork and broiler production will pressure hog and broiler prices from last year's levels.
"The impacts of tight beef supplies and record prices will provide support to other meats, as consumers continue to seek value in lower-priced beef cuts and alternative proteins," notes Shagam. "Exports will expand for most meats. But increasingly tight supplies will constrain beef exports."