December 2023 Livestock Outlook

The USDA’s December Livestock Outlook says higher cow slaughter and heavier-than-assumed carcass weights will offset lower fed cattle slaughter in the fourth quarter of 2023.

That will leave the beef production forecast for 2023 unchanged. Expected heavier carcasses will carry over into early 2024 along with higher cow slaughter.

Fourth-quarter pork production was raised 25 million pounds to 7.09 billion pounds, 2.4 percent higher than during the same period last year. Hog prices are expected to average $54 per hundredweight for the quarter, 15 percent lower than the fourth quarter of 2022. First-quarter hog prices are lowered by $1 per hundredweight to $56 as soft consumer pork demand is likely to persist, limiting hog price increases.

Lamb and mutton import forecasts are lower in the December report compared to the previous month. In poultry, projected broiler production is adjusted higher for the fourth quarter of 2023 based on strong production in October.