Broiler production this year is now forecast at 38.286 billion pounds, 173 million pounds less than last month’s forecast and 2.3 percent above the 37.425 billion pounds produced in 2013, according to USDA’s “World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate” (WASDE) report issued this week. With broiler production of 37.425 billion pounds in 2013, a 15-million pound increase over the February estimate, last year’s production would be 2.1 percent above the 36.643 billion pounds of broiler production in 2012. Analysts explained that they reduced their forecast for production this year because “hatchery data point to slower growth in egg sets and chicks placed.”

Broiler exports for 2014 are forecast to be slightly higher than previously expected. The 2014 forecast was increased by 50 million pounds to 7.550 billion pounds, compared with last year’s exports of 7.364 billion pounds. If 2014 exports are 7.550 billion pounds, it would represent a 2.5-percent increase over 2013. The 2013 exports (7.364 billion pounds) are 1.2 percent higher than the 7.274 billion pounds in 2012.

USDA tightened the range for its price outlook for broilers compared with its month earlier forecast. Analysts now expect the wholesale broiler price, national composite weighted average, to be 95-100 cents per pound for 2014, compared with 94-101 cents per pound in last month’s report. For 2013, the price was calculated at 99.7 cents per pound, compared with 86.6 cents per pound in 2012. USDA essentially left its broiler price forecast for 2014 unchanged, despite the trimming of broiler production and higher forecast prices for cattle and hogs.

Compared with last month’s report, USDA again raised its beef production forecasts for 2014 by 190 million pounds with expectations now at 24.623 billion pounds. This production level would be 4.6 percent less than the 25.800 billion pounds in 2013. Beef production at 25.800 billion pounds last year is 0.8 percent less than 25.996 billion pounds produced in 2012.

Unlike the beef outlook, USDA made a modest downward adjustment to its forecast for pork production for 2014. USDA now expects this year’s pork production to be 23.377 billion pounds, 60 million pounds less than last month. For 2013, pork production was 23.215 billion pounds. The revised pork production outlook puts 2014 output 0.7 percent ahead of 2013 and last year’s pork production 0.2 percent under the 23.270 billion pounds in 2012.

Production of total red meat and poultry for 2014 is now seen at 92.791 billion pounds, 193 million pounds less than the previous report. In 2013, 92.973 billion pounds were produced. With 2013’s combined production at 92.973 billion pounds, it represents 0.4 percent above the 92.602 billion pounds in 2012.

Analysts noted in the report that red meat and poultry production were lowered from last month as higher beef production was more than offset by lower pork, broiler, and turkey production. For beef, continued relatively large cattle placements in the first quarter are expected to result in higher slaughter in 2014. Coupled with heavier carcass weights and higher expected first-quarter cow slaughter, the beef production forecast was raised. Pork production was reduced from last month as higher carcass weights were insufficient to offset tighter supplies of hogs.

The beef import forecast for 2014 is unchanged from last month, but the export forecast was raised on strong sales to Asian markets. Pork imports were raised as prices are forecast higher, but the export forecast is reduced as high prices are expected to constrain sales. The broiler export forecast was raised as January exports were higher than expected.

Cattle prices for 2014 were raised from last month, reflecting tight supplies and continued price strength for fed cattle. The hog price forecast was raised on expected tight supplies of market hogs and strong demand, the report said.