The U.S. Department of Agriculture adjusted its forecast for red meat and poultry production in 2024 to be 1 percent less than in 2023. Beef production is expected to be lower as is pork production, while poultry will be higher, according to the latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE).

Expectations for lower fed and non-fed cattle supplies pushed the beef production forecast lower.

At the same time, the forecast for total red meat and poultry production this year was revised upward from last month’s estimates. The expectation for beef production was lifted because the weekly slaughter totals have been higher and placements have also been higher than was forecasted for the first half of the year. These changes support expectations for higher steer and heifer slaughter in the latter half of 2023. Estimates also pushed cow slaughter higher because supplies of forage remain challenging even though pasture conditions have gotten slightly better.

Beef export projections for 2024 are lower than 2023 thanks to production that will be lower. On the other hand, imports of beef are expected to be higher because US domestic supplies will be tight. Beef exports for this year, however, are expected to be higher, according to indications from current trade data.

Those tighter cattle supplies in the US will also lead to higher cattle prices in 2024. For the rest of 2023, cattle prices are expected to be higher later in the year.,