USDA AMS May 2017 Economic Landscape Report. For more details click here: http://www.ams.usda.gov/services/market-research/aad.
March 2017 beef production was 7 percent above 2016 and 16 percent above February at 2.25 billion pounds. Cattle slaughter was up 9 percent, at 2.77 million head, and up 17 percent on a monthly basis. The average live weight was down 20 pounds from last year, to 1,350 pounds. Jan-Mar 2017 commercial beef production was up 6 percent from last year. Veal production totaled 6.4 million pounds, the same volume as last March, and up 14 percent from February. At 45,000 head, calf slaughter was up 25 percent from the year before and up 12 percent monthly. The average live weight was down 56 pounds from last year, at 246 pounds. Year to date veal production was down 4 percent. Total stocks of beef in freezers at the end of March were down 8 percent from February, and down 4 percent from the March 2016. While boneless beef storage was 9 percent lower than the month before, and 5 percent lower than last year, inventories of beef cuts were up 8 percent monthly and up 12 percent from year earlier levels. Veal stocks in cold storage were down 5 percent on a month-to-month basis but up 141 percent from levels for March 2016.
Live cattle prices (FOB, steers and heifers) hit their stride through April, rising to a 2017 high of $136 per cwt, 4 percent above last year. The beef cutout value rose $3 per cwt to $220 per cwt, only $3 below the year-to-date peak, and 1 percent below the 2016 value. The 90 percent lean boneless beef price continues tracking the 2016 price pattern, holding steady at $218 per cwt and down slightly from last year. The 50 percent lean trim price rose $7 to a 2017 peak of $110 per cwt, 82 percent above the 2016 level. Packer-owned veal carcasses rose $2 to $307 per cwt, while non-packer owned veal carcasses held steady at $299 per cwt, 20 and 14 percent below 2016, respectively. The veal cutout average remained at $435 per cwt through April, 18 percent below last year’s value.
Compared to March 2016, beef and veal exports (including variety meats) increased 18 percent to 105 thousand MT and the export value rose 22 percent to $588 million. The export volume and value were both up 16 percent from February. The first quarter’s beef export volume rose 15 percent from last year, and 19 percent in value. Japan, South Korea and Canada were our largest export markets in January. Year-over-year beef import volumes were down 1 percent to 95 thousand MT, and down 6 percent in value to $466 million. Compared to February, beef imports were 20 percent higher and value was up 19 percent. Year-to-date imports of beef and veal are 10 percent lower in volume and 4 percent lower in value than in 2016. Canada, New Zealand and Australia were the largest importers of beef to the U.S.