Broiler production this year is now forecast at 38.459 billion pounds, 25 million pounds less than last month’s forecast and 2.8 percent above the 37.410 billion pounds estimated for 2013, according to USDA’s “World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate” (WASDE) report issued this week. If broiler production is 37.410 billion pounds in 2013, a 63 million pound increase over the January estimate, it would be 2.1 percent above the 36.643 billion pounds of broiler production in 2012. Analysts explained that they reduced their forecast for production this year because there is “slower growth in slaughter.”

Broiler exports for 2013 and 2014 are forecast to be lower than previously expected. The 2013 estimate was cut by 52 million pounds to 7.364 billion pounds, while this year’s exports are now expected to be 7.500 billion pounds, 50 million pounds less than month earlier. If 2014 exports are 7.500 billion pounds, it would represent a 1.8-percent increase over 2013 and, if 2013 exports are 7.364 billion pounds, it would be 1.2 percent over the 7.274 billion pounds in 2012.

USDA raised its price outlook for broilers, noting that “expected demand strength and reduced supplies of competing meats in 2014” will provide support. Analysts expect the wholesale broiler price, national composite weighted average, to be 99-101 cents per pound for 2014, compared with 92-99 cents per pound in last month’s report. For 2013, the price was calculated at 99.7 cents per pound, compared with 86.6 cents per pound in 2012.

Compared with last month’s report, USDA raised its beef production forecasts for 2014 by 30 million pounds with expectations now at 24.433 billion pounds. This production level would be 5.3 percent less than the 25.800 billion pounds in 2013. USDA’s latest forecast of 25.800 billion pounds for last year is unchanged from its December report and is 0.8 percent less than 25.996 billion pounds produced in 2012.

Like the beef outlook, USDA made modest adjustments to its forecast for pork production for 2014. USDA now expects 2014 pork production to be 23.437 billion pounds, 160 million pounds less than last month. For 2013, analysts now report 23.215 billion pounds, 3 million pounds more than the January report. The revised pork production outlook puts 2014 output 1.0 percent ahead of 2013 and last year’s pork production 0.2 percent under the 23.270 billion pounds in 2012.

Production of total red meat and poultry for 2014 is now put at 92.984 billion pounds, 197 million pounds less than the previous report, and essentially no-change from the now expected 92.958 billion pounds for 2013. If 2013’s combined production is 92.958 billion pounds, it would be 0.4 percent above the 92.601 billion pounds in 2012.

Commenting on the meat and poultry situation, USDA explained that the 2014 forecast of total red meat and poultry production was lowered from last month as higher beef production is more than offset by lower pork, broiler, and turkey production. For beef, relatively large cattle placements in the fourth quarter of 2013 are expected to carry through into the first half of 2014, which will result in higher slaughter in 2014. Cow slaughter is also expected to remain relatively strong during the first half of 2014 with favorable cull cow prices. Pork production is lowered as reports indicate that Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) continues to spread. Turkey production is reduced as recent eggs-set and poult placements remain below a year earlier. Estimates of 2013 meat and egg production were adjusted to reflect data for December, 2013.

The broiler export forecast for 2014 was lowered as weaker-than-expected December exports and recent weakness in leg quarter prices may reflect reduced demand. Turkey exports are unchanged. Meat and poultry trade estimates for 2013 were updated based on data for December 2013. Cattle prices for 2014 are raised from last month, reflecting tight supplies and recent price strength for fed cattle. The hog price forecast is raised on reduced supplies of market hogs and strong demand.