Expectations for U.S. beef production in 2014 are higher than the previous month according to the USDA’s last forecast of the year.
The United States Department of Agriculture World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) forecast increased beef exports, cattle prices and beef production estimates over its November predictions.
The December forecast increases total red meat and beef production in 2014 by less than one percent each compared to the previous month’s forecasts. According to the report, the increase is a result of higher expected cattle and hog carcass weights and higher cattle slaughter. The beef production forecast expects imports to remain consistent with earlier predictions.
Demand will likely keep cattle prices strong going into 2014. Shrinking supplies will make each head more valuable with expected prices next year higher in the December report than a month earlier. The USDA specifically focuses on fed cattle prices, which have remained above $130 per hundredweight while beef prices hover above $200.
High beef prices will weigh on consumer demand next year as per capita consumption increased from November estimates, but remains six percent lower than 2013 projections.