Production of poultry and red meat next year is now forecast to be 91.026 billion pounds, 257 million pounds less than last month’s forecast and 1.6 percent below the slightly revised downward estimate of 92.542 billion pounds for 2011, according to USDA’s “World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates” report issued by the World Agricultural Outlook Board yesterday. In the May 2011 issue of WASDE, USDA’s first forecast for 2012 combined poultry and meat production was for a very slight increase over 2011.  The forecast for 2012 broiler production was reduced, the outlook board said, because bird numbers are likely to experience “sharper declines” during late 2011 and into 2012.  Next year’s broiler production is now expected to be 36.307 billion pounds, 297 million pounds less than the October report and 1.7 percent under the slightly lowered 36.919 billion pounds for 2011.

Beef production for 2012 is expected to slip further as board analysts foresee slightly lower cattle slaughter and slower growth in heavier carcass weights.  Pork production next year was left unchanged from last month’s forecast.  The forecast for turkey production forecast was raised as higher prices “are expected to favor expansion.”

Expected broiler exports for 2011 and 2012 were raised in this month’s report as “strong demand in a number of countries and a relatively weak dollar” should lead to increased overseas sales.  Broiler exports for this year are now expected to be 6.864 billion pounds, up 1.5 percent from the 6.765 billion pounds in 2010.  Analysts see 2012 exports at 6.900 billion pounds, 200 million more pounds than last month and 0.5 percent above this year.

Despite lowering expected broiler production for 2012 and an improved outlook for exports, the outlook board lowered expected wholesale broiler prices for fourth quarter 2011 and first quarter 2012 as weakness in domestic demand and current overhanging supplies pressure prices.  For 2012 USDA’s 12-city average wholesale broiler price was trimmed to 79-85 cents per pound, 1 cent per pound less on each end of the range forecast last month.  For 2011, the comparable broiler price is now expected to be 78.6 cents per pound, 0.5 cents less than last month and 4.3 cents less than the average for 2010.