Weekly global protein digest: HPAI in US, poultry processing, food prices

Market analyst Jim Wyckoff shares highlights from the global protein market
calendar icon 4 March 2022
clock icon 4 minute read

US bird flu confirmations in additional commercial and backyard flocks

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the presence of H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in two commercial turkey flocks in Greene County, Indiana, and in backyard flocks in Kalamazoo County, Michigan (mixed species, non-poultry) and Knox County, Maine (pet chickens, non-poultry), the second confirmed backyard find in Maine. There are now seven confirmed commercial operations with HPAI in Indiana, Delaware, and Kentucky, and five backyard flocks in Virginia, Maine, New York, and Michigan. More countries have added restrictions on poultry/products from Delaware.

USDA’s Meyer does not cite concentration as factor for higher food prices

The Biden administration, including USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, has been citing concentration in the U.S. meat industry in particular as a factor that has helped push meat prices higher for consumers. USDA Chief Economist Seth Meyer opened the USDA Outlook Forum by setting the economic stage for U.S. agriculture. In terms of food price inflation, Meyer noted food prices were up around 7%, with several factors contributing to the increase. “The drivers of these rising prices are extremely complex, including strong domestic and foreign demand, labor challenges, short-term supply chain constraints as well as geopolitical uncertainties that are driving up the prices of energy and raw materials, directly impacting the production costs of many goods,” Meyer explained. “Additionally, weather-related agricultural production shortfalls in many parts of the world put upward pressure on commodity and food prices.”

USDA provides funding for expanded meat and poultry processing

USDA announced on Feb. 24 that it is making available up to $215 million in grants to expand meat and poultry processing capacity.

U.S. pork, beef export sales show marked improvement in latest week

USDA Thursday reported net U.S. pork sales of 42,200 MT for 2022 were up 59 percent from the previous week and 80 percent from the prior 4-week average. Increases were primarily for Mexico (17,000 MT, including decreases of 700 MT), China (16,600 MT, including decreases of 300 MT), Japan (3,000 MT, including decreases of 200 MT), South Korea (2,400 MT, including decreases of 900 MT), and Canada (1,300 MT, including decreases of 400 MT). Exports of 30,100 MT were unchanged from the previous week, but down 3 percent from the prior 4-week average. The destinations were primarily to Mexico (12,900 MT), Japan (4,500 MT), China (4,300 MT), South Korea (2,800 MT), and Colombia (1,400 MT).

Beef: Net sales of 23,800 MT for 2022 were up 64 percent from the previous week and 23 percent from the prior 4-week average. Increases were primarily for South Korea (9,800 MT, including decreases of 500 MT), China (4,100 MT, including decreases of 200 MT), Japan (2,800 MT, including decreases of 700 MT), Taiwan (2,000 MT, including decreases of 300 MT), and Canada (1,300 MT). Exports of 17,600 MT were up 15 percent from the previous week and 11 percent from the prior 4-week average. The destinations were primarily to South Korea (5,200 MT), Japan (4,500 MT), China (2,700 MT), Mexico (1,400 MT), and Taiwan (1,200 MT).

China to buy pork for state reserves

China will buy 40,000 MT of pork for state reserves this week in the first round of stockpiling this year, China Merchandise Reserve Management Center said. The National Development and Reform Commission will also guide local authorities to actively buy pork for local reserves. China is seeking to support hog prices after a sharp fall following the Lunar New Year holiday, when excess supply and flat demand weighed on the market.

China’s sow herd declines, still up from year-ago

China’s sow herd fell 0.9% during January to 42.9 million head, though that was still up 2% from last year, according to the country’s ag ministry. The country’s hog slaughter totaled 28.5 million head during January, down 1.7% from December, but up 45.9% from last year.

USDA’s 2022 food price inflation forecasts rise

USDA now expects food price inflation in 2022 to rise 2.5% to 3.5% from last year, up from its prior outlook food prices would increase 2% to 3%. The forecast for food away from home (restaurant) prices is for an increase of 4% to 5%, the second increase in as many months. Food at home (grocery store) prices are now forecast to be up 2% to 3% in 2022, up from USDA’s initial outlook that those prices would increase 1.5% to 2.5% from 2021 levels.

US dairy product prices rising

US dairy prices are seen rising 2.5% to 3.5% in 2022 versus 2021, the second month in a row the price outlook has been increased. In January, USDA raised the forecast to a rise of 1.5% to 2.5% which was a sharp upward move from the initial outlook that prices would be down 0.5% to up 0.5%.

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