USDA: Cattle prices expected to remain strong through 2013

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According to the USDA's WASDE report, the forecast for 2012 total red meat and poultry production is raised from last month but the forecast for 2013 is reduced as higher feed prices are expected to pressure producer returns.

Beef production is raised from last month for both 2012 and 2013 due to higher expected placements in feedlots and increased dairy cow slaughter in late 2012 and during 2013. Carcass weights are forecast higher based on recent weight trends, but higher feed prices are expected to temper the increase and carcass weights are expected to be lower in 2013 compared to 2012.

Pork production is reduced from last month for both 2012 and 2013. The reduction for 2012 reflects lower slaughter in the third quarter and lighter expected carcass weights through the year. As a result of high feed prices and recent hot weather, forecast pig crops are lowered in the second half of 2012 with declines continuing into 2013. Pork production is forecast lower in 2013 due to a combination of smaller hog supplies and lower expected carcass weights.

Broiler production is raised in 2012 as production in the second quarter was higher than forecast last month and hatchery data points to higher than previously forecast levels of production in the third quarter. However, high feed costs are expected to result in lower broiler production in 2013. Turkey production is forecast lower in 2012 on lower second-quarter production. The production forecast for 2013 is reduced as feed prices squeeze producer returns. The egg production forecast is lowered for both 2012 and 2013.

Beef imports are reduced for 2012 based in part on weaker second-quarter data but are unchanged for 2013. Beef exports are reduced for both 2012 and 2013 as exports have slowed and tight supplies of pork and poultry are expected to support domestic beef demand. Pork and poultry exports are reduced for both 2012 and 2013.

Cattle prices are reduced from last month with the expectation of larger fed cattle marketings in both 2012 and 2013. However, prices are likely to remain strong in 2013 as total meat supplies are tight. Hog prices are raised in both years due to smaller hog supplies.

Broiler prices are reduced in 2012 due to larger expected supplies and somewhat weaker demand, but for 2013, tighter supplies are expected to help support higher prices. Turkey and egg price forecasts are raised on lower production.



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