The 2011 forecast of total red meat and poultry production is raised, reflecting higher beef, pork, and turkey production, but lower broiler production. The increase in beef production is largely due to higher expected cow slaughter as drought conditions in much of the Southern Plains and high hay prices will likely keep slaughter high.
For 2012, beef and broiler production is reduced from last month, but pork production is increased. First-quarter beef production is raised slightly but is more than offset by reduced production later in the year as feedlot supplies decline.
Beef import forecasts are lowered in 2011 and 2012 as strong demand for beef by competing importers limits shipments to the United States. The beef export forecast is raised as the strong demand in a number of countries is expected to support continued growth in U.S exports. Pork imports are unchanged from last month but the export forecast for 2012 is reduced slightly as expected increased production in several Asian markets may limit export opportunities later in the year. Broiler exports are raised for 2011 but are unchanged for 2012.
Cattle prices are forecast higher for the remainder of 2011 and through 2012. Demand remains stronger-than-expected and the strength is expected to carry into 2012.