Dennis Sun: The More You Study Meat Markets The More Confusing It All Looks

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By Dennis Sun, Wyoming Livestock Roundup

If you are a livestock producer, understanding the current and future meat markets, both in the U.S. and abroad, can cause you to beat your head on a rock frequently. It’s not our fault, it just takes almost a daily experience to keep in touch with what is going on in the global meat world. I think the current and future meat market resembles the oil and gas business somewhat, where supply and consumer demand rules.

The U.S. meat business involves pork, chicken, turkey, lamb, beef and lately the alternative meat products. Finding the right markets and guessing consumers’ demands takes work and a good set of dice in the global markets. They all depend on grain – a different world altogether.

The ruthless pandemic caused the consumer to cook at home, learn about the different cuts of meats and how to cook them for dinner. One positive result was lamb meat markets, which are now a hot commodity and good for those lamb producers.

As with all meats, prices have risen at the meat counter. These prices didn’t bother the consumers much at first, as they couldn’t eat out at restaurants.  But lately, with the higher price of beef, the demand for poultry has come on strong. People haven’t abandoned beef, but the high cost of ribeyes and other primal cuts has caught consumers’ attention.

Beef Magazine said declining beef and pork production may offset increased broiler production and lead to a decrease in total meat production in 2022. This decline is showing up in other countries such as China. In the last few years, we have seen high numbers of cattle and hogs.

Recently, both beef and pork prices have been rising due to lower numbers. This year the U.S. Hogs and Pigs report revealed the March 1 report for market and breeding hogs are down from last year.

The Livestock Marketing Information Center reported beef production is forecast to drop by 2.2 percent. Beef consumption is also down. Dropping beef cattle inventories will result in reduced cattle slaughter this year, and U.S. beef exports are supposed to drop from a record 2021. But the good news is, cattle prices under the lower numbers are supposed to rise.

The big unknowns out there for all the meat markets is grain prices and how long the drought will hang on. Drought will have the greatest impact on beef inventory, mainly because of pasture and hay production.

Then we have to look at alternative proteins, which we all dislike to speak of. These alternative proteins have caught the attention of the younger millennials and Generation Z consumers looking for “healthy” proteins. Many of these young adults want “healthy” foods and have fallen for the false advertising of those investing in these products, such as Bill Gates.

If they would take the time to read the list of ingredients and quit listening to these billionaires and animal rights activists selling their snake oil, we would all be better off. They are all trying to get the dismal stock prices of alternative proteins to increase. Beyond Meats, one of the most popular brands, had a cost per share of $158 a year ago and now is $47. So, you can see why they are promoting their product at this time.

America has the best and healthiest meats in the world, why would anyone look elsewhere for a better protein for themselves and their families?

The Wyoming Livestock Roundup is a weekly agriculture newspaper available in print and online. To subscribe, visit wylr.net or call 1-800-967-1647.

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