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Pork production forecast tweaked

USDA increased projected pork production for 2015, lifted total meat and poultry numbers

The USDA boosted the 2015 forecast for total red meat and poultry production in its April World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates as higher beef and pork production levels more than offset the lower turkey production.

A greater number of cows slaughtered and heavier carcass weights boosted the beef projection for the year whereas broiler production estimates will left untouched.

Pork projections
On the other hand, pork production was adjusted upward by the USDA as higher-than-expected first quarter slaughter totals were reported along with the recent “Quarterly Hogs and Pigs” report revealing 9% higher December-February pig crop and producers intend to farrow 2% more sows in March-May. As it stands, the USDA has estimated U.S. pork production at 24.24 billion pounds, up 6.1% from a year ago.

A strong dollar makes the U.S. an attractive market despite the expected increase in pork production. As a result, the USDA increased the forecast for pork imports but left pork export estimates unchanged.

An increase in production will most likely pressure prices downward.  In the April report, pork prices for 2015 were projected at $48-$51 per hundredweight, 5-6 cents lower than last month.

Grain projections
The USDA also fine-tuned world agricultural supply and demand numbers for the U.S. crops Thursday. U.S. corn ending stocks were raised from 1.777 billion bushels to 1.827 billion bushels while dropping U.S. soybean ending stocks to 370 million bushels from 385 million bushels. Due to expected increase in meat production, corn for feed is projected to be up 4% with record total corn use is expected this year.

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