News

Putting "Record High" Meat Production in Context

Total U.S. red meat and poultry production are often cited as "record high," which is correct this year and last, and the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) forecasts that situation to persist through 2019. However, production numbers need to be in context, which is often not done. First, looking at the timeframe from 1960 through 2016 (56 years), 40 of those years set new all-time highs in U.S. red meat and poultry production. That is 71% of the year's set new highs; records are the typical situation, not abnormal.

The LMIC projects that among the U.S. red meats (beef, pork, lamb, and veal), only commercial production of pork will set a new all-time high this year (25.7 billion pounds on a carcass weight basis). Beef output in 2017 is expected to be about 26.2 billion pounds; that would be the largest for any year since 2010. U.S production of lamb in 2017 is forecast to erode to 143 million pounds, a new low. Commercial veal production is projected to be just over 79 million pounds, larger than 2016’s but the second lowest since the data have been compiled (1960). Overall, U.S. production of red meats will set a new high this year (about 52.1 billion pounds carcass weight), but the breakdown is important.

In the U.S. poultry complex (chicken and turkey), led by chicken, 2017's total output is projected to set a new all-time high (Federally Inspected output of 47.4 billion pounds). Turkey tonnage is expected to be slightly below a year ago.

Further insight is provided by calculating disappearance (sometimes called consumption) on a per person basis. Besides accounting for population growth, that calculation entails subtracting exported tonnage, adding imports, and adjusting for any year-over-year change in stocks (frozen product). Usually, disappearance is discussed as a retail weight (weight estimated at the meat counter in the grocery store). Retail weight per capita disappearance of total red meat and poultry in 2017 is projected to be the largest since 2008, not record large. LMIC projects this year’s U.S. per person beef disappearance will be the largest since 2012. For pork, due mostly to large export tonnage, per person disappearance in 2017 is expected to come in at slightly below 2016’s. Combined chicken and turkey disappearance (retail weight) in 2017 is likely to be slightly below a year ago (note that 2016 was record high).

Drilling down into the production numbers shows large supplies of most meats and poultry, but not unheard of levels. Looking at the retail weight per person story is important. It gives insight, among other things, to how exports have impacted domestic use. 

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 16:36:00 +0000
Ranchers placed 1.93 million cattle in U.S. feedlots in August, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Friday, in a stronger-than-expected report likely to weigh on futures early next week.

Fri, 01 Sep 2017 12:46:00 +0000
According to the latest Cattle on Feed report by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the number of animal’s on feed (lots with 1,000 or more head capacity) remained above a year ago.

Thu, 31 Aug 2017 12:38:00 +0000
Total U.S. red meat and poultry production are often cited as "record high," which is correct this year and last, and the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) forecasts that situation to persist through 2019. However, production numbers need to be in context, which is often not done.

Wed, 30 Aug 2017 08:49:00 +0000
The weekly Crop Progress report issued by USDA-NASS (National Agriculture Statistics Service) showed this year’s corn crop condition as of the last weekend in August as unchanged from the prior week.

Mon, 28 Aug 2017 15:14:00 +0000
July placements up 2.7% vs year ago and Aug. 1 feedlot cattle at 104.3% of year ago.

Fri, 25 Aug 2017 23:25:00 +0000
Feedlots in the U.S. added 439,000 more head of cattle on Aug. 1 compared to the same time last year, an increase of 4%.

Fri, 25 Aug 2017 13:22:00 +0000
Canadians are adding more cattle to their herd, but the U.S. still has 10-times as many cattle.

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 15:09:00 +0000
The estimate of area harvested was unchanged from the figure shown in their June acreage report and only up a fraction of a percent from last year.

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 20:24:51 +0000
June 1 feedlot cattle at 104.5 pct of year ago.

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 20:54:00 +0000
The U.S. beef cow herd increased 7% in the past two years, while beef replacement heifers were down 2% since USDA's last mid-year inventory report.