Livestock markets to have several positives, according to WASDE


As reported in High Plains Journal, the most recent World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report indicated several positive points for livestock, poultry and dairy producers.

Red meat and poultry production for 2023 was raised from the previous month due to higher beef, pork and broiler production in the fourth quarter, the report noted. Changes in the estimates reflect November production data and preliminary estimates of slaughter numbers and weights for December. The egg production was raised based on production and flock data.


For 2024, the beef forecast was raised with expected first half cattle slaughter as well as higher dressed weights, according to WASDE. The report indicated more would be known when the latest Cattle on Feed is released later in the month. The Cattle on Feed report will provide an indication of the number of cattle available for placement during 2024 and producer intentions for retaining heifers for additional building of the breeding herd.

Beef export estimates for 2023 were lowered and imports were raised on recent trade data, the WASDE report noted. For 2024, beef imports were raised largely on higher expected imports from Oceania, a consortium of 14 nations. Imports are estimated at 3.7 million pounds and exports at 2.85 million pounds in December 2024 projections.

The export forecast is lowered on weaker sales to a number of markets in Asia.

Price estimates for 2023 reflect December data. For 2024, cattle prices are unchanged as steers were projected at $175 per hundredweight with an opportunity to reach $183 per hundredweight in the fourth quarter.


First-half pork production was raised reflecting pig crop data for the second half of 2023. Production in the second half reflects first-half 2024 farrowing intentions reported in the December Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report and expectations of a somewhat slower-than-recent-growth in the pigs per litter rate.

Pork imports for 2023 were unchanged but exports were raised, WASDE stated. For 2024, pork imports were unchanged and exports were raised slightly. For estimates based on December 2024, imports were targeted at 1.22 million pounds and exports at 6.85 million pounds.

Hog prices were lowered in 2024 reflecting continued softness in demand and increased hog supplies.

The price for barrows and gilts was estimated at $51 per hundredweight but projected to hit a peak at $65 in the third quarter and hit $55 in the fourth quarter.

Broiler and poultry

Broiler production was raised for the first half of 2024 based on recent hatchery data. Turkey production was lowered for the first half of the year based on hatchery data and expected pressure from lower prices. Egg production was lowered due to reductions of the laying flock as a result of the highly pathogenic avian influenza-related culling through early January.

Broiler exports in 2023 were raised on recent trade data and 2024 exports are also slightly raised. Turkey exports are lowered for 2023 but raised for 2024 as prices are expected to remain competitive.

Broiler prices are projected higher as demand strength in late 2023 is expected to carry over into 2024. Turkey prices were lowered with soft demand in late 2023 carrying into this year. Egg prices were raised on recent prices and impacts of the recent HPAI outbreaks on the flock size.

The price for broilers in the first quarter was estimated at 123 cents per pound, expected to reach 130 cents per pound in the second quarter and finish the fourth quarter at 125 cents per pound. Turkey prices were estimated at 95 cents a pound but estimated to be at 119 cents per pound by the fourth quarter. The prices for eggs per dozen were estimated at 205 cents in the first quarter but will be at 165 cents per pound in the fourth quarter.

Milk production

Milk production for 2023 was lowered from the previous month with lower milk cow inventories and lowered expected milk per cow, WASDE stated. The 2024 production forecast was lower due to reduced average cow inventory for the year and slower growth in output per cow. A report later in January is expected to provide an indication of producer intentions for retaining dairy heifers for addition to the breeding herd.

Fat and skim-solid bases imports for 2023 were unchanged based on recent trade data. Fat and skim-solid bases imports are lowered, based on lower expected cheese and butter fats imports. Exports on a fat basis for 2023 were lowered based on recent trade data. Exports on a skim-solids basis were raised for 2023. For 2024, exports on a fat basis are raised as butter and cheese prices are expected to be more competitive on the world market. Skim-solids basis exports for 2024 are unchanged.

For 2023, product and class price estimates were adjusted to reflect reported prices. For 2024, prices for cheese are lowered due to recent price weakness, while butter, non-fat dry milk and whey prices are all expected to be higher.

The Class III price was lowered with lower cheese prices outweighing higher whey prices. Class IV prices were raised, due to higher butter and non-fat dry milk price forecasts. The 2023 all milk price forecast was unchanged at $20.60 per hundredweight and the 2024 milk price was lowered to $20 per hundredweight.


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