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Global pork, chicken production forecast to rise in 2023

Ben185/iStock/Thinkstock livestock truck hauling cattle
U.S. drought conditions contribute to lower global beef production forecast.

Global pork and chicken production is forecast to rise next year while beef production is expected to be lower. U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) recently released a report providing a glimpse into 2023’s animal protein production outlook.

According to the report, global beef production is forecast fractionally lower in 2023 as falling North America and EU production is expected to offset gains in Brazil, China, and Australia. Brazil production is expected to increase 1% based on firm global demand in key markets although higher input costs and a weak domestic market will constrain growth. In China, higher cattle inventories are anticipated to support a 5% increase in beef production. Meanwhile, Australia production is expected to surge 13% due to improved pasture conditions, FAS noted.

U.S. beef production, however, is forecast to fall by 6% on tighter cattle inventories.

“In 2022, drought conditions in much of the United States have resulted in high culling rates and earlier-than-normal placement of cattle in feedlots,” the report noted. “This will result in a smaller cattle herd in 2023.”

Consequently, FAS said U.S. beef exports will fall 14%, although they will still “remain historically elevated on firm demand in key market.”

Global pork production is forecast to rise 1% in 2023 to 111.0 million tons as production in China increases. FAS said Chinese pork production is expected to grow 2% as the sector continues to recover from the impacts of African swine fever (ASF).

The United States, Brazil, and Mexico are also forecast to expand production, more than offsetting declines by other major producers including the EU and the United Kingdom (UK), the report said.

Rising feed, energy costs, and environmental restrictions will dampen EU production, and producers in the UK face high feed costs and weaker demand for domestic pork. Meanwhile, Brazil and Mexico continue to expand their hog sectors to meet growing domestic demand, which FAS said has been partly driven by consumers seeking alternatives to higher-priced beef, and stronger export demand in several key countries.

In Vietnam, production continues to rebound as the management of ASF has protected the sector from large-scale outbreaks.

Specific to the U.S., FAS said production will rise by 1% in 2023 to 12.4 million tons on gradually increasing pig crops and heavier weights. However, U.S. exports are forecast lower in 2023 on easing demand by key importers such as Mexico and China.

All major chicken producing countries, except China, will make gains in 2023, leading to a 2% rise in production, according to the report. The most significant growth, FAS noted, will occur in Brazil, contributing to the record 102.7 million tons forecast.  

“Relatively high feed and energy prices have squeezed profitability globally, but expansion is spurred by robust demand as consumers are expected to seek lower-cost animal proteins amid rising food costs,” FAS noted.

The growth in Brazil has been driven by both domestic and global demand as it solidifies its position as the world’s leading producer, surpassing China this year.

FAS said China production will be stagnant as growth in white feather production will offset a decline in yellow feather production. Still, demand for affordable chicken products, particularly white feather broiler meat, is expected to grow in 2023 as Chinese consumers shift towards a more diverse protein diet.

Thailand production is forecast to grow by 3% despite the anticipated slow recovery in domestic consumption and high production costs caused by supply disruptions to feed grains and day-old chicks.

“These factors will keep the growth rate below the pre-pandemic average.”

Russia and Mexico will also make gains amid strong domestic demand, FAS suggested, while EU production is forecast only marginally higher due to rising energy costs on the heels of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreaks.

U.S. chicken production is expected to rise about 2% to nearly 21.2 million tons in 2023 on a modest decline in feed prices and firm demand. These increased supplies will bolster exports, which FAS forecast 3% higher to nearly 3.4 million tons.

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