Trends: The Major Livestock and Poultry Market Concerns Going Forward

For the next two years, the major market outlook issue or headwind for all the U.S. livestock and poultry markets is the sheer tonnage of product that will be produced. In both 2018 and 2019, forecasts call for record large total U.S. red meat and poultry output. It is important to note that even though many consumers do some substituting between categories, it is not one-for-one. That is, for example, in the overall retail marketplace one pound of beef does not substitute for that same amount of chicken.

For 2015 through 2017, U.S. production of red meats (beef, pork, lamb, and veal) plus poultry (chicken and turkey) set a new record high each year. In 2017, LMIC projects output will be 2.5% larger than 2016’s. U.S. production of beef this year is projected to be the largest since 2011, while both pork and chicken set all-time highs.

Putting 2017’s tonnage into context by adjusting for U.S. population growth, international trade (quantity of products exported and imported), and frozen stocks carried-over from one year to the next, gives per person domestic market disappearance. That per capita calculation does not remove meat and poultry (skeletal muscle) in pet foods. Estimated per capita retail weight disappearance of beef in 2017 will be the largest since 2012, pork essentially unchanged compared to 2016, and chicken a new record high.


On a retail weight basis, 2017’s total red meat and poultry disappearance is projected by the LMIC at 115.5 pounds per person, up 1.6 pounds from a year ago. Forecasts for 2018 and 2019 are for 218.5 and 220.9 pounds per capita, respectively. If realized, both those years would be the largest since 2007’s. Those levels are not unprecedented, but the 2019 forecast is only one pound below the record high set in 2004.