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USDA Sees Challenges For Egg, Beef, and Pork Sectors

by 5m Editor
21 March 2008, at 11:05am

US - USDA issued its latest Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook Wednesday. The report suggested challenges and opportunities for the entire sector in the year ahead, reports <i>Peter Shinn, Brownfield</i>.

Shinn highlights the USDA reported wholesale egg prices were up a whopping 40% compared to the first quarter of last year due to a cut in production. But those high prices impacted egg exports, which fell 20% in January.

U.S. pork slaughter is expected to be up nearly 10% in the first quarter compared to the first quarter of last year. And average hog prices are expected to be 12% lower than the first quarter of 2007. That, the USDA report said, means many Iowa pork producers are currently operating at losses of up to $30 per hog.

In the beef sector, cattle slaughter is expected to be slightly higher in the first quarter of this year than the first quarter of last year, which itself was 15% above the first quarter of 2006. USDA said that's because drought continues in the Southeast and is spreading into the Southern and Northern Plains from, respectively, Mexico and Canada.

But beef prices haven't plummeted this year. The reason, according to the USDA report, is because of strong beef exports, which were up 25% in 2007 and are expected to increase again more modestly this year, said Shinn.

Online: Brownfield

Further Reading

More information - US Livestock Outlook Report - March 2008.

5m Editor