January’s stronger than expected broiler production and wholesale prices for broilers resulted in USDA raising its 2012 forecast for both production and prices, according to the department’s “World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate” report issued today. Analysts at USDA’s World Agricultural Outlook Board now see broiler production this year to be 35.912 billion pounds, 198 million pounds more than last month and 2.4 percent less than the 36.803 billion pounds in 2011.

At the same time, analysts raised their expected 12-city average wholesale price for broilers by 3.0 cents on each end of last month’s price range.  They forecast the 2012 price to average between 85 to 90 cents per pound compared with 79.0 cents per pound in 2011 and 82.9 cents per pound in 2010.  Broiler exports for 2012 were left unchanged from last month’s report at 7.050 billion pounds or 0.8 percent above the 6.991 billion pounds in 2011.

Beef production for 2012 was adjusted downward from the January report as steer and heifer slaughter numbers were trimmed.  Partly offsetting this reduced outlook for steers and heifer is higher expected cow slaughter.  Also, mild winter weather in much of the country has allowed average beef carcass weights during the early part of this year to be seasonally high.  Beef production this year will likely be 25.145 billion pounds, 80 million pounds less than the January forecast and 4.4 percent lower than the 26.309 in 2011.

Pork production is forecast at 23.254 billion, unchanged from the January report and 2.1 percent more than the 22.779 billion pounds in 2011.  For all poultry and meat combined, production is expected to total 90.948 billion pounds this year, 176 million pounds above last month’s forecast but 1.6 percent under the 92.420 billion pounds last year.