September 14, 2012


US meat consumption to be affected by drought in 2013


In the midst of a drought crisis in US, the USDA's Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook has expected animal protein production to reach 90.593 billion pounds in 2013, down 2% from the forecast 2012 volumes.


US per capita meat and poultry consumption is also expected to decline 2%, to 197.7 pounds, as the rise in meat prices, alongside cautious consumer sentiment (since the 2008 Global Financial Crisis) has resulted in US consumers increasingly tightening their expenditure. The 2013 forecast, if realised, would be the first decline since 2009. US meat and poultry production has been steady since reaching a record high in 2008, despite the high cost of production, as strong growth in meat and poultry export demand maintained output.


Significantly higher feed costs are expected to have a negative impact on US pork production next year, as most producers are likely to limit hog production to reduce operating losses. The USDA forecast 2013 pork production at 22.9 billion pounds, about 1% lower than estimated production in 2012, through a combination of lower farrowing and reduced slaughter weights. Hog prices in 2013 are expected to reflect tight animal protein supplies, rising almost 3% from the already high levels in 2012. Lower projected pork production for 2013, amid continuing strong export demand, is expected to suppress per capita pork consumption to 45.2 pounds, down by 1% from the forecast for 2012.


Also heavily impacted by the surge in corn and soy prices, US poultry production in 2013 has been forecast to decline to 36.5 billion pounds, with prices estimated to average above 2012 levels (USDA). With anticipated higher prices, US broiler export predictions for 2013 were lowered by 2%, as US' price sensitive customers scale back purchases. US per capita broiler consumption in 2013 is forecast at 79.2 pounds, down 2% from the 2012 anticipated levels.


As the widespread drought has impacted the US cow herd, pushing up feed costs and placing cow-herd expansion plans on hold, US beef production for 2013 is expected to decline 4% on-year, to 24.6 billion pounds. Per capita beef consumption is also estimated to decrease 4%, to 54.8 pounds, as the forecast rise in beef prices, and the relatively high value among all animal proteins continue to influence consumer affordability.