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CME: Red Meat, Poultry Production Expected to Decline by 2020

06 March 2019

US - For five years the livestock and poultry industry has beat the drum of year on year increases in net commercial red meat and poultry production, and not by nominal amounts, according to Steiner Consulting Group, DLR Division, Inc.

From 2014 to 2017 that figure increased by over 2.5 percent each year and passed the landmark figure of producing over 100 billion pounds of red meat and poultry annually in the US in 2018.

Last year the meat complex showed a marked slowdown increasing total red meat and poultry by only 2.25 percent and in 2019 that number is expected to slow, moving closer to 1 percent.

By 2020, red meat and poultry production may actually see a decline in net total commercial production of red meat and poultry.

The key lies in the slowing of production growth in red meat and the potential about-face in poultry production brought about by sustained lower margins.

Pork production on an annual basis is expected to slow in 2020 despite higher slaughter numbers in the first quarter of 2019.

Given the weak hog prices over the last year, we find it unlikely that 2019 will continue to show as favorable farrowings as years past. This will likely translate to slower growth in 2020.

The cattle inventory report has already indicated that the total US beef herd has moderated growth, with total cattle and calves up only half a percent.

The longer biological lag in the cattle cycle indicates that higher beef production will still be the case in 2019 and in 2020, but that we are moving from annual average increases of between 2.6 percent and 6.4 percent to 1-2 percent in 2019 and under 1 percent in 2020.

Those two sectors alone indicate net commercial red meat production will grow half as much in 2020 as it will in 2019 and may show a year on year decline by 2021.

The poultry sector is expected to see the most changes by 2020. Net Ready-to-Cook turkey production is expected to decline for a second year in 2019.

In 2018 production figures declined 1.7 percent and are expected to decline by 5 percent in 2019 due to drastic price declines of 20 percent on whole birds in 2018.

Total chicken production is expected to moderate to a 1 percent increase year-over-year in 2019 and is expected to decline significantly in 2020 based on large negative returns seen since the second half of 2018 for the large bird sector.

Competing proteins offered inexpensively in the grocery store has taken its toll on returns in the heavier bird market. Those margins are not expected to improve significantly with beef and pork production continuing to expand, albeit at a slower rate.

Total chicken in cold storage could reach a billion pounds in 2019, and will likely become a driver to this commodity profile in 2020.


Daily Livestock Report - Copyright © 2008 CME. All rights reserved.


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