USDA meat outlook for 2016

12 November 2015

The US is forecast to produce 44.1 million tonnes carcase weight (cwt) of red meat and poultry in 2016, up 3% on this year, according to the latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Production and exports of all the major meat proteins (beef, pork, broiler (chicken), and turkey) are expected to increase, while imports are likely to be lower for all categories.

Beef production in the US is forecast to grow 514,400 tonnes cwt next year, to 11.3 million tonnes cwt. US beef imports are expected to drop 11%, to 1.38 million tonnes cwt. This is a function of larger domestic production, and an expectation of lower beef availability from major supplying countries, especially Australia. Exports are forecast to grow 9%, to 1.1 million tonnes cwt – a result of higher beef production. This could be limited if there is a continuing increase in the value of the US$, which makes US beef less competitive in global markets.

Broiler, or chicken, production is forecast to grow 344,700 tonnes cwt in 2016, to 18.39 million tonnes cwt. Export growth is expected to account for around 72% of the production increase, but this will depend on the pace at which overseas markets re-admit US poultry after the bird flu-related bans this year.

The increase in meat production and exports from the US in 2016 means that there will be a much larger volume of meat protein on the global market next year. This will go some way to filling the expected drop in availability of Australian beef. It will also mean that any potential meat (and livestock) price rises will be restricted, despite the limited Australian cattle supply.

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