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Beef/Cattle: Production and price forecasts are little changed from last month. The forecast for 2023 commercial beef production is 26.941 billion pounds, 40 million lower than last month’s projection, based on a lower production outlook for the second-half of the year. This is based on a slower expected pace of fed cattle marketing in September that is partially offset by higher expected cow slaughter for the rest of the year. As a result, the outlook for 2024 production remains unchanged from last month at 25.2 billion pounds. The cattle price forecasts for 2023 and 2024 are mixed. Fed steer prices are unchanged from last month. Prices for feeder steers are projected higher in fourth-quarter 2023 and first-half 2024. Based on July trade data, beef imports are raised in second-half 2023 and in 2024. However, U.S. beef exports are projected to decline further in 2023 and 2024 than forecast last month as the demand outlook from Asia is revised lower.
The United States Imported More Swine and Cattle in First-Half 2023 Than in Same Time Last Year
The United States primarily imports live swine from Canada and cattle from both Canada and Mexico. In the first 6 months of 2023, total swine imports reached 3.3 million head, almost 1 percent higher than the same period last year. Most live swine are imported as young pigs for finishing; that is, fed to slaughter weights and then processed in the United States. Imports of pigs for finishing were 2 percent lower year over year but 8 percent higher than the 5-year average, a trend since 2021 after the closure of slaughter facilities and a rise in costs to raise pigs in Canada. Plant closures likely also supported higher imports of hogs for immediate slaughter, which increased almost 12 percent in first-half 2023, a 50-percent increase over the 5-year average. Total first-half 2023 cattle imports were 953,000 head, an 11-percent increase over the same period last year. This is likely supported by tight cattle supplies in the United States and higher U.S. cattle prices year over year. Over the last 5 years, about 75 percent of imports were feeder cattle, 25 percent were cattle for immediate slaughter, and less than 1 percent were for breeding. In the first 6 months of 2023, about 687,000 head were feeder cattle, and 88 percent of them were Mexican origin. Imports of feeder cattle increased more than 19 percent year over year in the first half, but at below the 2018–22 average. However, the number of slaughter-ready cattle—of which 99 percent came from Canada—decreased nearly 5 percent from last year to about 259,000 head, yet it remains above the 5-year average.
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