Red meat, poultry production to ease in 2012

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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WASHINGTON – Red meat and poultry production will decline in the US spurring higher prices for beef and poultry, according to an outlook report on livestock and poultry markets issued by the US Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service (ERS).

Beef cow slaughter is trending down and heifer retention to replace cows appears to be in early stages, according to ERS. Consumers may also be pushing back against high retail prices for beef.

Broiler production also eased in January, and is expected to be lower through the first three quarters of the year compared to 2011, ERS said. However, the forecast for quarterly turkey production increased from February to 5.9 billion lbs. Ending stocks of whole turkeys were up 30 percent in January.

Lamb and mutton are forecast to increase leading up to the Easter and Passover holidays, according to ERS. However, the increasing number of overfinished lambs in the system could negatively impact prices.

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