WASHINTON – The Oct. 14 edition of the National Chicken Council’s Washington Report stated US broiler production for 2012 is forecast to total 36.604 billion lbs., which is 470 million lbs. less than the September forecast and 1.0 percent less than the slightly revised downward estimate of 36.942 billion lbs. for 2011. These figures are based on the US Department of Agriculture’s “World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates” study released last week by the World Agricultural Outlook Board.

The further pull-back in next year’s production outlook was due to a weakened broiler price forecast, analysts said.

Meanwhile, ongoing drought conditions in much of the Southern Plains and escalated hay prices may keep beef cattle slaughter running ahead of previous expectations for the rest of 2011 and into first quarter 2012. Hog slaughter is also on pace to lead into higher pork production. More pigs per litter will be a key factor adding to pork production next year, the report stated.

For 2011, total red meat production increased by 114 million lbs. from last month’s report to 49.377 billion lbs., 0.4 percent above the 49.183 billion lbs. in 2010. The board now expects 48.504 billion lbs. In 2012, 80 million lbs. more than the September report and 1.8 percent less than the revised estimate for 2011.

Total poultry and red meat production will likely total 92.559 billion lbs. for 2011,, 80 million lbs. more than the previous month’s estimate and 0.9 percent above the 91.772 billion lbs. in 2010. For 2012, total poultry and red meat production is forecast now at 91.283 billion lbs., 390 million lbs. less than last month’s forecast and 1.4 percent lower than the estimate for 2011.

US broiler exports for 2011 were raised to 6.539 billion lbs., up 75 million lbs. from the September estimate and 3.3 percent under the 6.765 billion lbs. in 2010. Broiler exports for 2012 were left unchanged at 6.700 billion lbs., 2.5 percent ahead of the revised estimate for 2011.

Wholesale broiler prices for 2012 are forecast to average between 80-86 cents per lb., 12-city whole bird average – two cents lower on each end of the price range when compared with the previous month’s estimate.

In 2010, the wholesale, broiler price was 82.9 cents per lb. Board analysts said broiler supplies remain relatively large and demand relatively weak. Price recovery in 2012 is expected to be on a slower pace than forecast last month.