US beef production to jump in 2016 – USDA

13 October 2015

A larger number of slaughter-ready cattle, and ongoing relatively low cost of feed, will increase the supply of US beef in 2016, according to the latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The larger supplies will also result in lower cattle prices in 2016, on average, than in 2015 – although they will be higher than current low values.

The USDA estimate that 2015 beef production will be 10.83 million tonnes carcase weight (cwt), increasing 5% to 11.35 million tonnes cwt next year. US beef imports are forecast to drop 11% in 2016, to 1.38 million tonnes cwt, while export growth is limited to 6%, to 1.1 million tonnes cwt. The reasonably small export growth is mainly due to the relatively high demand for beef in the US compared with their major export markets.

The WASDE also projects steer prices to average 149.19US¢/lb live weight (lwt) in 2015, while the 2016 average is expected to fall within the range of 136–147US¢/lb lwt. While this is lower on an annual average, it is higher than current (early October) prices, which are around 120US¢/lb lwt.

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