Driving this trend are forecast year-over-year increases in beef production, which is expected to rise 6.1 percent; pork production at 5.4 percent and broiler meat at 2.1 percent.
In the beef segment, more calves were placed in feedlots due to dry conditions that pressured pasture availability in the Southern Plains, which likely will lead to higher beef production, ERS said. For 2018, the forecast is higher for beef production at 27.8 billion lbs. on higher slaughter in the first half of the year. Additionally, beef imports are forecast higher to 2.98 billion lbs. although beef imports will remain 1.3 percent below the year-ago amount.
Several new pork processing plants will come online in 2018, which will drive higher projected pork production and exports, according to the ERS report. “Animal inventories, litter rates, and producer farrowing intentions were year-over-year higher,” the agency noted. As a result, pork production is forecast 5 percent higher in 2018 at about 27 billion lbs.
Increased broiler production, weights and exports in November contributed to higher projected production and exports for 2018. ERS reported broiler meat production was 3.4 billion lbs. in November, roughly 3 percent higher than a year ago, while bird weight climbed nearly a percent.
“Early January price data supported increased 2018 projections,” ERS reported. “Table egg production resumed expansion in November, and exports were robust as expected.” The 2018 forecast for broiler production was raised 175 million lbs., resulting in annual growth just over 2 percent, according to the report.
Visit the ERS website for the full 2018 outlook report.