WASHINGTON – In 2012, broiler production is predicted to reach 37.732 billion lbs., 1.9 percent beyond the 37.013 billion lbs. estimated for 2011, according to USDA’s “World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates” report from the World Agricultural Outlook Board.

Improved net returns in 2012 following the expected cutback in broiler production during the latter part of 2011 will stimulate the stepped-up output, analysts explained, added the May 13 edition of the National Chicken Council’s Washington Report. Broiler production for 2011 is now expected to be 7 million lbs. less than last month’s estimate and 1.4 percent more than the 36.516 billion lbs. in 2010.

For 2012, beef production is predicted to total 25.190 billion lbs., 4.3 percent less than the 26.331 billion lbs. now estimated for 2011. Analysts increased this month’s beef production estimate by 134 million lbs. compared with the April estimate. The pool of cattle available for placement in feedlots during 2012 will be reduced as cattle inventories diminish. If producers decide to begin rebuilding herds for breeding by retaining heifers from the 2011 calf crop, placements will be further constrained in 2012, USDA said.

As the number of pigs per litter increases and farrowings increase modestly, pork production is likely to gradually increase in 2012. USDA anticipates a 1.4-percent increase in next year’s pork production with 22.969 billion lbs. compared with 22.644 billion lbs. in 2011. USDA added 28 million lbs. to its 2011 pork production estimate this month compared with its April report. As a result, pork production this year will likely be 0.8 percent more than the 22.456 billion lbs. in 2010.

Combined red meat and poultry production in 2012 is forecast to be 92.440 billion lbs., essentially unchanged from the revised estimate of 92.434 billion lbs. for 2011. This year’s combined red meat and poultry production estimate would be 0.7 percent above the 91.772 billion lbs. in 2010.

Next year, broiler exports could reach 6.700 billion lbs., 4.7 percent above the 6.400 billion lbs. estimated for 2011. Last month, the board put 2011 broiler exports at 6.550 billion lbs. but reduced its estimate by 150 million lbs. to 6.400 billion lbs.

In 2010, broiler exports totaled 6.773 billion lbs. Estimated exports for 2011 were lowered as slower-than-expected sales to several markets were seen by USDA. A more diverse array of markets for broilers in 2012 will lead to the increase in exports, the report stated. USDA’s 12-city wholesale price for broilers for 2011 was left unchanged from last month’s report and continues at 82-86 cents per lb. Next year’s comparable broiler price could increase and be in the range of 83-89 cents per lb.