Publications

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  • Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook: September 2012

    LDPM-219, September 18, 2012

    Impacts of high feed prices shake out across markets.

  • Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook: August 2012

    LDPM-218, August 16, 2012

    Drought-motivated increases in cow slaughter and feeder cattle movements have adversely affected all cattle and beef prices and plans to increase the national cow herd.

  • Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook: July 2012

    LDPM-217, July 17, 2012

    Beef/Cattle: Following on the heels of last year's drought, this year's lack of adequate rainfall over more than half of the United States has resulted in rapidly deteriorating crop and pasture conditions that have driven corn prices higher and cattle prices lower.

  • Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook: June 2012

    LDPM-216, June 18, 2012

    Beef/Cattle: Producers are beginning to market calves and beef cows at increasing levels as pasture and range conditions begin to deteriorate. Projected cattle feeding margins are increasingly negative at current price levels. Packer margins are currently positive, but declining byproduct values are adversely affecting them.

  • A Quarterly Econometric Model for Short-Term Forecasting of the U.S. Dairy Industry

    TB-1932, January 05, 2012

    This research evaluates the econometric approaches employed by USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) to contribute to the dairy sector forecasts published in the monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report. To generate the estimates, a quarterly model of the U.S. dairy industry is specified using data for fourth-quarter 1998 (Q4/1998) to first quarter 2009 (Q1/2009), and it is estimated and validated employing data for Q2/2009 to Q1/2010. Different forecasts are generated using a variety of single equation and system methods, and which are then evaluated in terms of forecast precision or predicting turning points in the data. Different approaches, however, more effectively forecast different variables. Vector autoregression with exogenous variables outperforms structural regression models when forecasting prices, but single and system estimations of structural models are superior to time series models when forecasting some items in farm supply and commodity balance sheets.

  • Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook: December 2011

    LDPM-210, December 15, 2011

    Disproportionally large cow slaughter has kept average dressed weights lower during most of 2011 than if steers had constituted half or more of beef slaughter, as they typically do. Packer margins and high feed and feeder cattle prices are exerting downward pressure on fed cattle prices.

  • Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook: November 2011

    LDPM-209, November 16, 2011

    Beef/Cattle: Drought continues to dominate non-fed slaughter, despite recent rains that provided temporary relief and promoted emergence of winter wheat in the Southern Plains.

  • Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook: October 2011

    LDPM-208, October 18, 2011

    Drought-induced cow-herd liquidation has reduced average dressed weights and resulted in relatively more ground products but fewer middle cuts. Wheat pasture could be priced at a premium this winter. Cattle feeding margins remain negative despite higher fed cattle prices.

  • Estimating the Substitution of Distillers' Grains for Corn and Soybean Meal in the U.S. Feed Complex

    FDS-11I01, October 13, 2011

    Corn-based dry-mill ethanol production and its coproducts - notably distillers' dried grains with soluble (DDGS) - have surged in recent years. The report estimates the potential substitution of DDGS for corn and soybean meal in livestock feeding and the impact of substitution upon the U.S. feed complex.

  • Food Safety Audits, Plant Characteristics, and Food Safety Technology Use in Meat and Poultry Plants

    EIB-82, October 03, 2011

    ERS documents the extent of food safety audits in meat and poultry processing plants and examines the association between the use of audits and the plants' size, business structure, and application of food safety technology

  • Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook: September 2011

    LDPM-207, September 16, 2011

    Beef/Cattle: Drought conditions continue to result in Southern cows going to slaughter and Southern calves going to feedlots. Also resulting from the drought, corn, and hay prices are increasing as cow and fed cattle prices slip. Despite deteriorating feed-fed cattle price relationships, feeder cattle prices appear mostly steady.

  • Selected Trade Agreements and Implications for U.S. Agriculture

    ERR-115, April 15, 2011

    ERS examines possible impacts of recently implemented free trade agreements (FTAs) where the United States is not a partner, and potential effects of pending U.S. agreements with Korea, Colombia, and Panama.

  • NAFTA at 17: Full Implementation Leads to Increased Trade and Integration

    WRS-1101, March 31, 2011

    This report is the last in USDA's series of Congressionally mandated biennial reports on the impacts of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on U.S. agriculture and the rural economy. The report responds to a mandate in the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act of 1993.

  • Carbon Prices and the Adoption of Methane Digesters on Dairy and Hog Farms

    EB-16, February 07, 2011

    Biogas recovery systems collect methane from manure and burn it to generate electricity or heat. Burning methane reduces its global warming potential, thereby reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Climate change mitigation policies that effectively put a price on GHG emissions could allow livestock producers to "sell" these reductions to other greenhouse gas emitters who face emissions caps or who voluntarily wish to offset their own emissions. Depending on the direction and scope of future climate change legislation, income from carbon off set sales could make methane digesters profitable for many livestock producers. By modeling the main determinants of producers' decisions to adopt biogas recovery systems, we illustrate how the price of carbon influences this decision and the potential supply of carbon offsets from the livestock sector.

  • Climate Change Policy and the Adoption of Methane Digesters on Livestock Operations

    ERR-111, February 07, 2011

    Methane digesters-biogas recovery systems that use methane from manure to generate electricity-have not been widely adopted in the United States because costs have exceeded benefits to operators. Burning methane in a digester reduces greenhouse gas emissions from manure management. A policy or program that pays producers for these emission reductions-through a carbon offset market or directly with payments-could increase the number of livestock producers who would profit from adopting a methane digester. We developed an economic model that illustrates how dairy and hog operation size, location, and manure management methods, along with electricity and carbon prices, could influence methane digester profits. The model shows that a relatively moderate increase in the price of carbon could induce significantly more dairy and hog operations, particularly large ones, to adopt a methane digester, thereby substantially lowering emissions of greenhouse gases.

  • Consumer-Level Food Loss Estimates and Their Use in the ERS Loss-Adjusted Food Availability Data

    TB-1927, January 03, 2011

    The Food Availability (per capita) Data System developed by USDA's Economic Research Service tracks annual food and nutrient availability for many commodities. The Food Availability data series in this system overstates actual consumption, so ERS has included an additional series, the Loss-Adjusted Food Availability data, to adjust the Food Availability data for nonedible food parts and food losses, including losses from farm to retail, at retail, and at the consumer level. In this report, we propose new consumer-level loss estimates for "cooking loss and uneaten food" of the edible share to replace those currently used in the Loss-Adjusted Food Availability data and propose their adoption for the entire data span (1970 to the most recent year in the series). The proposed loss percentages are calculated by subtracting food consumption estimates from food purchase or availability estimates for each food. These calculations are adjusted with information from an expert panel experienced in analyzing food consumption data. In general, the proposed food loss estimates for individual foods indicate substantial differences from the currently used estimates. Although some estimates indicate smaller loss percentages than the currently used estimates, many are larger. Overall, if the proposed loss estimates are used in the ERS loss-adjusted series, the average American would consume 17.3 pounds less each year, or 41.9 fewer calories per day, than suggested by the currently used loss estimates.

  • An Analysis of U.S. Household Dairy Demand

    TB-1928, December 13, 2010

    This report examines retail purchase data for 12 dairy products and margarine from the Nielsen 2007 Homescan retail data. Selected demographic and socioeconomic variables included in the Nielsen data are analyzed for their effects on aggregate demand and expenditure elasticities for the selected products. A censored demand system is used to derive the demand elasticities. The resulting estimates revealed that the magnitudes of 10 of the 13 own-price elasticities are greater than 1; substitute relationships are found among most dairy categories; expenditure elasticities are 1 or greater for 7 of the 13 products; and demographic and socioeconomic variables are statistically significant contributors to dairy demand.

  • Cow-Calf Beef Production in Mexico

    LDPM-196-01, November 18, 2010

    This report characterizes Mexican beef cow-calf production systems in the context of the many issues affecting Mexican beef and cattle markets, including geo-climatic factors, disease and pest challenges, patterns of landownership, changes in export regions, and changes in domestic consumption as they relate to cow-calf production.

  • Long-Term Growth in U.S. Cheese Consumption May Slow

    LDPM-193-01, August 12, 2010

    Cheese production and markets have emerged as important elements of the dairy industry over the past three decades. Supply-and-use analysis shows an upward trend in total cheese consumption over the past three decades. Nielsen 2005 retail Homescan data were used to analyze cheese consumption by location as well as by income, age, and racial/ethnic groups. Own-price and expenditure demand elasticities were also calculated using the Nielsen data. To the extent that increases in consumers' food expenditure translate into more cheese purchases, it is expected that total cheese consumption will continue to rise. However, changes in the demographic profile of the U.S. population may somewhat slow future growth.

  • On the Map: Western U.S. Has the Highest Number of Organic Dairy Cows Per Farm But the Fewest Farms

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2010

    Only 7 percent of organic dairies were in the West in 2005, but these operations accounted for 31 percent of organic milk cows. Operations in the Northeast averaged 53 cows per farm; the Upper Midwest, 64 cows; and the West, 381 cows.