WASHINGTON – Pork and poultry production will see moderate increases in 2013, according to forecasts from the US Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service.

Several factors are behind the trend, according to ERS. Small increases in farrowings and continued strong sow productivity gains, together with higher average dressed weights due to lower feed costs are expected to culminate in a moderate increase in pork production for 2013. US commercial pork production is forecast at 23.8 billion lbs., an increase of 2.3 percent over 2012, ERS said.

ERS also expects US pork exports to show moderate growth in 2013. Pork exports are forecast at 5.4 billion lbs., an increase of close to 1.8 percent over 2012 levels. Production and export forecasts point to 22.7 percent of production to be exported in 2013, compared with 22.8 percent in 2012.

Stronger economic conditions, a forecasted decline in feed costs, and strong prices for competitive meats, broiler integrators are expected to have an incentive to expand production, ERS said. The agency forecasted broiler production to increase 2.5 percent in 2013, after a forecast decrease of 1.6 percent in 2012.

ERS said turkey production is also expected to be higher, up 1 percent. This would be the third consecutive year of production increases after declines in 2009 and 2010, ERS said.

Egg production is expected to be mixed in 2013, with table egg production declining slightly and hatching egg production higher.