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.