Latest WASDE report raises red meat, poultry production

Ground meat should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 F, measured with a food thermometer, said K-State food scientist Karen Blakeslee. (K-State Research and Extension)

The latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report indicated total red meat and poultry production forecasts are raised from the previous month.

Higher beef, pork and broiler production more than offset lower turkey production, according to the March 8 report, which is issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


The beef production forecast was raised as lower expected processing in the first quarter is more than offset by higher slaughter for outlying quarters.

The WASDE report for this month projected processing of 26,325 million pounds for 2024, compared to 26,185 million pounds forecast a month ago. The latest projection shows 6.6 million pounds in the first quarter of 2024, followed by 6.68 million, 6.54 million and 6.5 million pounds for the last three quarters, respectively.

The beef import forecast for 2024 was raised based on recent trade data, but exports remain unchanged. Imports are forecast at 4.175 million pounds (up from 4.125 million pounds estimated in February) on an annual basis with exports at 2.785 million pounds.

For 2024, cattle prices were raised for all quarters based on recent prices and demand for fed cattle. The price for steers for March was projected at $183 per hundredweight, which was up $3 from February. The prices were projected based on the five area direct prices for all grades. The prices are expected to be $179, $183, $182 and $186 per hundredweight for each of the quarters in 2024. Those would be higher in three of the four quarters in comparison to 2023.


The pork production forecast was raised based on a more rapid pace of processing in the first quarter, partially offset by lower weights. USDA will release its Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report on March 28, which should provide a further indication of hog supplies for processing in the second half of the year, the report said.

Pork exports were based on trade data and continued strength in shipments in several key markets. Pork exports are estimated at 7.13 million pounds on an annual basis in the figures supplied in March. That was up from 7.08 million pounds in the February report. Imports were estimated at 1.185 million pounds in March, which was a drop from 1.195 million pounds in February.

Annual pork production was estimated at 27.91 million pounds for the March report, which was up from 27.89 million pounds the previous month. Production ranged from a high of 7.4 million pounds in the fourth quarter of 2024 to a low of 6.63 million in the second quarter.

Hog prices were raised for the second and third quarters based on demand strength.

Hog prices for March were projected at $61 per hundredweight, which was $1 higher than February. Prices for the four quarters in 2024 were $55, $65, $67 and $56 per hundredweight, respectively. Those prices were higher than the four quarters of the previous year, with the exception of the third quarter.


Broiler production was raised on placement and processing data for the first quarter and expectations that lower feed costs will support higher production later in the year. Turkey production was lowered for the first half of the year on the most recent production and hatchery data.

Egg production was lowered for the first quarter based on hatchery data.

The broiler export forecast was lowered based on recent data and expectations of demand weakness in Asia. Broiler exports were pegged at 7.165 million pounds in the March report, compared to 7.215 million pounds in the February report. Turkey exports were raised based on data. Egg grade forecasts were unchanged.

Broiler prices were unchanged from the previous month. Turkey prices were raised for the first quarter as data and lower expected production were cited. Egg prices were lowered for the first quarter.

Annual broiler production for 2024 was estimated at 46.88 million pounds in March compared to 46.78 million pounds. The price remained at 127 cents per pound. Turkey production was estimated at 5.37 million pounds compared to 5.4 million pounds on an annual basis with the updated March report. The price was 108 cents per pound, up from 107 cents per pound the previous month.

Egg production, on an annual basis was estimated downward to 9.29 million dozen eggs. The previous month showed a projection of 9.305 million eggs.

Milk and dairy

Milk supply and use estimates for 2023 were adjusted to reflect revisions in production and cold storage data. For 2024, milk production is lowered due to a smaller dairy cow inventory and slower growth in output per cow.

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Milk production, on an annual basis, was estimated at 227.3 billion pounds based on March’s data compared to 228.2 billion pounds in February.

On a fat basis, the domestic use forecast was unchanged from the previous month. Fat-basis imports were raised on higher imports of a number of products. Fat-basis exports were lowered primarily on expected lower cheese and butter shipments. On a skim solids basis, the domestic use forecast was raised. Import forecasts were raised, while exports, primarily of cheese, nonfat/skim milk powder and whey were lowered.

For 2024, the butter price forecast was raised on recent data and strong demand. The cheese price was raised on recent price strength. Nonfat dry milk and whey price forecasts were lowered based on recent prices. Class III prices are projected higher based on higher cheese prices, while Class IV prices were lower as the lower nonfat dry milk price more than offset the higher butter price. The all-milk price was projected higher at $21.25 per hundredweight. A month ago it was projected at $20.95.

Dave Bergmeier can be reached at 620-227-1822 or [email protected].