WASHINGTON – Red-meat exports from the United States will remain strong in 2010, according to the latest Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service.

Cow slaughter continues at a high rate despite good pasture conditions in most areas. Cattle-feeding margins are narrowing as feed costs and feeder cattle prices increase and fed cattle prices hold steady. Year-over-year growth in beef exports should remain positive throughout the outlying quarters of 2010. U.S. cattle imports are forecast at 2.15 million head for 2010, a 7% increase above year-earlier levels. Through May, cattle imports are 11% higher, year-over-year.

After declining in 2009, broiler production continues to expand at a moderate pace. Production over the first five months of 2010 is only 2% higher than the previous year. Turkey production so far in 2010 is below the previous year, and with lower cold-storage holdings, prices for whole turkeys and a number of other turkey products are above year-earlier levels.

May broiler shipments fell short of last year’s volume, while turkey shipments have been on the rise. Broiler exports totaled 535.5 million lbs., a 7% drop, and turkey exports totaled 47 million lbs., an increase of 19% from a year ago.