Market Outlook

Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook, January 2018 (summary)

2018 Per Capita Red Meat and Poultry Disappearance Record-High

Production increases in the U.S. beef, pork, and broiler industries expected in 2018 will likely lead to larger quantities of red meat and poultry available to U.S. consumers. Red meat and poultry disappearance is calculated as the volume of meat and poultry production that remains for domestic use after subtracting net trade and changes in cold storage volumes. Dividing this residual by the U.S. population yields the per capita quantity, which is used in the domestic market. For 2018, that per capita quantity is projected to be the equivalent of 222.8 pounds, the highest since the series calculation began.

The most important factors driving per capita disappearance this year are forecast increases in year-over-year production of beef (+6.1 percent), pork (+5.4 percent), and broiler meat (+2.1 percent).

Per capita disappearance is entirely a supply statistic and does not take account of waste or nonfood uses of livestock meat products. It imparts no information about prices, tastes and preferences, and other factors that ultimately determine how much red meat and poultry individual consumers will choose to buy and consume.

Cattle/Beef: Dry conditions in the Southern Plains stressed pasture availability, supporting strong placements of calves in feedlots in fourth-quarter 2017. As a result, beef production for 2018 is forecast higher at 27.8 billion pounds on greater expected marketings in the first half of the year. For 2017, beef imports are revised upward to 2.98 billion pounds but remain 1.3 percent below a year ago.

See the January LDP Outlook report and previous reports.