WASHINGTON – In 2010, 2.19 billion lbs. of U.S. beef are forecast to be exported, with exports to Japan and South Korea providing the most momentum in the U.S. beef export market. June broiler shipments rose from a year ago, but fell short of last year’s second-quarter total broiler volume. Broiler shipment totaled 609.4 million lbs., a 14.6% increase from a year ago, according to the Aug. 18 edition of the Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (E.R.S.)

Feeder-cattle prices and the current series of profitable months of feeding cattle have not been enough to motivate beef cow-herd expansion, according to the July 1 Cattle report. As a result, cow slaughter continues at a high rate, setting the stage for further declines in cow inventories.

The rate of U.S. beef exports to Vietnam seen earlier in the year may decrease in the second half of 2010. Regardless, U.S. beef exports should remain competitive in the global marketplace, particularly as the U.S. dollar remains relatively weak vis-à-vis the currencies of competing exporters, particularly the Australian dollar.

Beef imports to the U.S. this year are forecast at 2.6 billion lbs., nearly even with 2009 levels. Cattle imports were strong through the first half of 2010, but weather and U.S. prices should determine the strength of cattle imports in the second half of the year.

First-half pork exports were 7.9% above the same period last year. Exports to Mexico have been strong this year and account for an increasing share of U.S. pork exports. Lower expected live-swine imports this year and a smaller increase next year are reflected in slightly lower commercial pork forecasts for 2010 and 2011.

The average price of 51% to 52% live equivalent hogs is expected to be $54 to $55 per hundredweight (cwt) in 2010, almost 33% above average prices in 2009. Strong hog prices are attributable to lower hog numbers and continued strong consumer demand or pork products.

Broiler-meat production increased modestly during the first six months of 2010 (up 2%) and is expected to continue expanding at only a slightly faster pace in the second half of 2010 as higher feed costs and slow growth in the domestic economy combine to place restraints on expansion.

Turkey-meat production is also expected to slowly expand in the second half of 2010, but is still expected to remain slightly lower than the previous year. Pullet placements on a year-over-year basis have turned positive only in the last several months after declining in almost all of 2009.

Turkey shipments fell by 3% in June, while the total turkey shipments for the second quarter exceeded last year’s volume by 16 million lbs.