US - US red meat and poultry production were strongly affected by weather and disease in the second quarter of 2015, according the latest report from the US Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service (USDA-ERS).
The Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook report showed that decreased beef cow slaughter has been a result of both low cow inventories and improved pasture conditions over most of the United States. Improved pasture conditions have also supported feeder cattle prices.
However, fed cattle slaughter has been lower, partially due to narrow beef-packer margins and the ongoing tug of war between narrow-to-negative beef-packer margins and negative cattle-feeding margins.
Disease impacts came from the US outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), which strongly affected turkey and egg production, the report showed. Broiler production has not been affected, as both numbers of birds slaughtered and weights have been higher.
However, trade in all poultry products has declined significantly because of HPAI-induced bans on imports of US poultry imposed by other countries. Higher production and lower exports have exerted downward price pressure on almost all broiler products.
The decline in production of table eggs has pressured prices higher. Wholesale egg prices in May and June and into July were sharply higher than the previous year, affecting consumers and restaurant traders.
The North American Meat Institute emphasised the report's finding that for the first time since 1950, the industry will produce more pork than beef in 2015. The report said that pork production has been higher and prices have been under pressure as litter size and overall hog inventories have rebounded after last year's Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea outbreaks.
USDA forecasts this year's commercial beef production will total 23.824 billion pounds, down 185 million pounds from its June estimates, whereas commercial pork production is set to reach 24.581 million pounds.
ERS projections for total red meat and poultry production fell below earlier prediction because lower beef and turkey production will likely offset gains from higher broiler and pork production. Overall, the US is expected to produce 1.8 per cent less beef compared to 2014, but 7.6 per cent more pork and five per cent more broilers.
You can view the report by clicking here.
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