WASDE raises red meat and poultry production

Cows need to be monitored for calving-related issues, according to veterinarians at K-State’s Beef Cattle Institute. (Photo: K-State Research and Extension)

Total United States red meat and poultry production forecast for 2024 was raised based on the latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.

Beef production was unchanged as lower expected processing was largely offset by higher dress weights.

For 2025, the red meat and poultry production forecast is raised on higher expected beef production and higher expected placements in the fourth quarter of 2024. Dressed weights are expected to remain relatively high in 2025.

Also, the cattle price forecast has been raised. The 2025 steer price was $186 per hundredweight, which is up $5 from what was projected at the beginning of 2024. The price is based on the five-area weekly weighted average direct slaughter cattle report compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Glynn Tonsor

Glynn Tonsor, a professor in the department of agricultural economics at Kansas State University, said the latest report was not a surprise to him, and he continues to anticipate higher cattle prices.

Cattle operators need to focus on their own costs, he said.

“Many cow-calf operators will begin contemplating herd rebuilding and expansion and hence should know their breakevens and know what expected return on their investment would be from rebuilding and expanding,” Tonsor said. “Feedlot operators are likely to face reduced supplies of incoming animals for a couple years leading to adverse margins making cost management even more important and ongoing discussions with your lender essential.”

He also noted that the nation’s cowherd is not showing any signs of rebuilding.

Cattle inventory report

Recently, the USDA said it was not going to issue a cattle inventory report in July.

“USDA provides a host of valuable reports and data series, but all must appreciate that provision is not free (Public, tax-based budgets are real.) and that the quality of said reports when available often hinges on validity of information provided by producers to USDA,” Tonsor said. “As for other outlets, general media and industry analysis can provide insight, but many build upon the tradition of USDA providing respected, unbiased information.”

Pork, poultry

Pork production was raised in the second quarter on a more rapid pace of processing and slightly higher dressed weights.

Pork prices were estimated at $54.97 per hundredweight at the beginning of 2024 and have been trending upward, but the WASDE projects the price to be at $59 per hundredweight beginning in 2025.

Broiler production was raised on higher bird weights and recent hatchery data. Turkey production was also raised on recent hatchery data. Egg production was lowered based on recent discoveries of highly pathogenic avian influenza in commercial laying flocks.

Broiler prices, which were at 128 cents per pound at the beginning of 2024, are expected to be 126 cents per pound beginning in 2025.


Milk production forecasts for 2024 and 2025 were unchanged from the previous month, with slight adjustments to the cow inventories offset by slower growth in milk per cow.
For 2024, butter, cheese, whey and nonfat dry milk price forecasts were raised from the previous month based on recent price strength. The all-milk price forecast is now estimated at $21.60 per hundredweight. Strong demand for dairy products is expected to carry into 2025, and prices were raised for cheese and whey.

The 2025 all-milk price forecast is estimated at $21.50 per hundredweight.

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

Sign up for HPJ Insights

Our weekly newsletter delivers the latest news straight to your inbox including breaking news, our exclusive columns and much more.