USDA forecasts higher global beef and pork production in 2021

Thursday, 22 April 2021

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released its latest quarterly outlook for global red meat production and trade. For both beef and pork, production is expected to rise. Trade is forecast to be mixed, and will be largely influenced by Chinese African Swine Fever (ASF) recovery.


In its latest outlook, the USDA forecasts that global beef production could rise by 2% year-on-year in 2021 to 61.5 million tonnes.

Production in the US, Canada and India is expected to recover following pandemic-related disruption to processing, while Brazilian beef production will be boosted by domestic demand and export demand, mainly from China.

This growth is expected to outweigh lower production in Australia and the EU. Australia is still rebuilding its cattle herd following tough periods of drought, while lower margins in the EU are expected to restrict production there.

Global beef exports are also forecast to rise by 2% year-on-year to 11.1 million tonnes. Most key exporters are expected to grow shipments in 2021, namely Brazil, India and the US. However, shipments from Argentina, Australia and New Zealand are expected to fall due to tighter cattle supplies.


The USDA forecasts that global pork production could rise by 5% year-on-year in 2021 to 101.5 million tonnes.

Production is expected to grow among most major producing countries. However, China is expected to lead the way as it recovers from the effects of ASF. Chinese pork production is expected to grow by 11% year-on-year in 2021, but is still expected to be 25% below pre-ASF levels due to ongoing breakouts and low productivity. High feed prices could also limit growth.

Global pork exports are forecast to fall by 1% year-on-year in 2021 to 11.5 million tonnes, as demand slows from China. Chinese imports are expected to fall by 8% year-on-year in 2021, as pork production recovers, but will still be high compared to historic figures. This is expected to outweigh higher demand from other countries including the Philippines and South Korea. The Philippines could see imports more than double, due to changes in its tariffs and quotas following impacts of ASF on domestic production.

Hannah Clarke

Analyst - Livestock

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