Quite a bit of attention has been given to total red meat and poultry production both this year and next, write analysts Steve Meyer and Len Steiner.
As reported by USDA, total red meat includes four red meats - beef, pork, lamb, and veal - which are measured on a carcass basis. The poultry items are: broiler (young chicken), other chicken (mature birds), and turkey, which are on a Ready-to-Cook (RTC) basis.
Of course, that is a wide array and set of quite different proteins, which have much different markets and demand profiles.
The long term trend is for US production of red meat meats and poultry to increase and 2015’s level will be record large. Another production record is likely in 2016.
Putting those numbers in terms of US per capita disappearance provides useful context. Total US red meat and poultry production in calendar year 2015 is projected to be record large at about 94.5 billion pounds (commercial production plus farm on a carcass weight basis), up 3.0 per cent from 2014’s and surpassing the 2008 record high (93.6 billion pounds).
The drivers behind record production are pork and broiler tonnage. Beef tonnage will be down year-over-year (off 2.1 per cent) and the smallest since 1993.
Pork output this year is projected to jump 7.5 per cent while broiler increases 4.5 per cent year-overyear, both will be record large. Turkey output this year is expected to be 3.6 per cent below 2014’s.
In contrast to record large total red meat and poultry production in 2015, on a per person basis, after adjusting for population growth and changes in imports, exports, and frozen stocks, per capita supply will not be record large.
Per capita disappearance is usually presented on a “retail weight basis” that is using USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) adjustment to derive the weight people buy before cooking.
Another measure is on a boneless basis, which is a useful comparison because poultry sold by retailers contains significantly more bone than do red meats (that adjustment also is provided by USDA-ERS).
In 2015, total red meat and poultry per capita retail weight disappearance (sometime referred to as consumption) is projected at about 211.5 pounds while boneless will be near 178.4. On a year-over-year basis, those are large increases, up 9.6 pounds retail from 2014’s, while the boneless increase is nearly 8.0 pounds.
But those are not close to the record high levels set in 2004 of 221.9 and 189.3 for retail and boneless per person disappearance, respectively.
Record production has not translated into record per person disappearance because of two factors: US population growth and critically, US import tonnage has dropped over that timeframe while exports have grown.
Without those changes in import and export tonnage, US red meat and poultry disappearance in 2015 would have exceeded the 2004’s record by about 5 pounds per person (retail weight).
In 2016, another record production level is forecast with total red meat and poultry about 96.6 billion pounds (up 2 per cent to 2.5 per cent year-overyear). Current forecasts suggest year-over-year growth in output of all major meat and poultry categories.
Still, on a per person basis, disappearance will remain well below record levels – retail weigh in the range of 211 to 213 pounds per capita, only a modest increase of 0.5 pounds for the year. On a boneless basis the year-over year increase in disappearance is currently forecast as a slight 0.2 pounds per person.
In 2015, per capita disappearance will grow, but only slightly compared to the ramp-up posted in 2015. Later this week, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will release two livestock/meat market important reports: 1) Cold Storage on Thursday and 2) Cattle on Feed is released this Friday.