Market Outlook

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

Canada and Mexico Supply the Vast Majority of Live Animal Imports to the United States

A net importer of live animals, the United States imported 1.81 million head of cattle and 5.6 million head of hogs in 2017. In 2018, imports of live cattle are forecast at 1.91 million head and hog imports at 5.63 million head, increases of 6 percent and about 1 percent, respectively. While these animals vary by weight, they can be grouped into two main categories: young cattle and young hogs imported for further feeding and finishing before slaughter, i.e., “feeder cattle” and “finishing pigs,” and animals ready for slaughter, i.e., slaughter cattle and slaughter hogs. In 2017, 67 percent of live cattle imports were feeder/stocker1 cattle and 32 percent were slaughter cattle. For 2017 live hog imports, 85 percent were finishing pigs, while 13 percent were slaughter hogs. Import shares in 2018—between feeder cattle and slaughter cattle, and between finishing pigs and slaughter hogs—are expected to remain largely the same as in 2017. Regarding origin, all but a handful of live animal imports come from countries within North America due to proximity and ease of transport to the U.S. Feeder cattle come from Mexico and Canada, with Mexico supplying the large majority. Practically all cattle for slaughter come from Canada. For live hogs, almost all imports—both finishing and slaughter—originate from Canada. Between 2013 and 2017, live cattle imports averaged 6 percent of U.S. commercial cattle slaughter. Over the same period, live hog imports averaged 5 percent of U.S. commercial hog slaughter.

Dairy: Exports on a skim-solids milk-equivalent basis in February were 13.7 percent higher than January and 19.6 percent above February 2017. With higher expected exports of nonfat dry milk/skim milk powder (NDM/SMP) and lactose, the 2018 forecast for exports on a skim-solids basis has been raised to 43.4 billion pounds, 0.6 billion higher than last month’s forecast. The price forecast for dry whey has been lowered to $0.240-$0.270 per pound due to recent price data, high supplies, and lower expected demand. The 2018 all-milk price forecast is $15.60-$16.10 per hundredweight (cwt), a reduction from last month’s forecast of $15.75-$16.35.


See the April LDP Outlook report and previous reports.