Beef: Looking into fourth-quarter forecasts for meat production, when considering 5% more broiler production, an additional 2% more a ready-to-cook (RTC) turkey production, two new pork processing facilities that helped add an estimated 4% more pork in the fourth quarter and larger year-over-year feedlot placements throughout the summer that provided an estimated 2-3% more beef production, total meat supplies in the fourth quarter are slated to post the largest third- and fourth-quarter increases since 1964, as well as the largest total red meat and poultry production for any quarter in history. The aforementioned larger placements against the fall to early-winter time frame will again (as in 2016) counter-seasonally boost beef production from the third quarter into the fourth quarter. Albeit not at as aggressive of a rate as last year, the roughly 2% increase (an additional 116 million lb.) in beef production is expected to hold the blended cutout in the sub-$200 area for the remainder of 2017.
Pork: The pork cutout traded sideways last week. The average price was below the prior week but did not lose the $5 gained last week. The moderate price support, in the midst of the largest year-to-date harvest levels, is indicative of demand appreciating current price levels and demand that is willing and able to move product at these points. The cutout is $3 below last year at this time and may be at a temporary bottom. The cutout is expected to trade relatively sideways for the next few weeks and possibly maintain the discount to the prior year, finding relief from the aggressive loses experienced in the last several months. Moving into the middle of October, however, slight losses could resume.
Poultry: The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s monthly “Poultry Slaughter” report showed that young broilers weighed, on average, 6.17 lb. during August. The 1.3% increase from the same month a year ago was the largest year-over-year increase since March 2016. Historically, this type of year-over-year growth in average live weights is not unprecedented; more so was the stretch in between, when the average live weight advances have been much slower than the five years prior to March 2016. In light of the larger bird weights during August and a nearly 2% increase in slaughter compared with a year ago, at 808.5 million head, production totaled nearly 3.76 billion lb. on an RTC basis. August RTC broiler production was 3.3% higher than the same month a year earlier and represents a record amount of broiler meat produced in a single month. Combined with record U.S. red meat production — up 4% during August versus the prior year — August was a bountiful meat production month.
For a more detailed look at the weekly forecasts for the various meat sectors and meat cuts, subscribe to the "Meat Price Outlook." Contact Susan Dahlgren at [email protected] for more information.