Daily Ag News Summary 07/12/2017

American’s Grain Consumption Exceeds Guidelines

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that people requiring 2,000 calories per day consume 6 ounce-equivalents of grains, half of which should be whole grains. An ounce equivalent of grains is generally equal to 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal, ½ cup of cooked rice, pasta, or cereal, 1 tortilla (6 inch diameter), or 1 pancake (5 inch diameter).

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) gross-adjusted food availability, Americans consumed an average of 6.7 ounce-equivalents of wheat flour, corn products, and other grains (rye flour, oat products, and barley products) per day in 2014 – a 35-percent increase from 5.0 ounce-equivalents per person per day consumed in 1970. While wheat flour consumption grew by 23 percent, consumption of corn products grew by 202 percent, reflecting the growing popularity of corn-based foods, such as tortillas and chips, and the use of cornstarch in processed foods. Consumption of rye flour, oat products, and barley products totaled 0.21 ounce-equivalents per person per day in 1970, and fell to 0.16 ounce-equivalents in 2014.

Strong Momentum Continues for Red Meat Exports

U.S. pork and beef exports posted a strong May performance, increasing significantly from the previous month and from year-ago levels, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Pork exports reached 222,015 metric tons (mt) in May, up 11 percent year-over-year and the fourth-largest monthly volume on record. Pork export value was $583.2 million, up 16 percent. For January through May, exports increased 14 percent from a year ago in volume (1.05 million mt, a record pace) and 18 percent in value ($2.68 billion).

Even with the growth in U.S. pork production, exports account for a larger share in 2017. May exports equated to 29.4 percent of total production and just under 25 percent for muscle cuts only – up from 28.4 percent and 24.3 percent, respectively, last year. Through the first five months of 2017, exports accounted for 27.9 percent of total production and 23.2 percent for muscle cuts (up from 25.2 percent and 21.3 percent). Exports are also commanding higher prices, indicative of strong demand across a wide range of international markets. Export value per head slaughtered averaged $58.61 in May, up 7 percent from a year ago. The January-May average was $54.23, up 14 percent.

May beef exports totaled 105,321 mt, up 6 percent from a year ago, valued at $582.6 million, up 9 percent. For January through May, beef exports were up 12 percent in volume (497,322 mt) and 16 percent in value ($2.75 billion) compared to the same period last year.

Exports accounted for 13 percent of total U.S. beef production in May and 10 percent for muscle cuts only – each down one percentage point from a year ago. Through May, these ratios were steady with last year’s pace – 12.8 percent for total production and 10 percent for muscle cuts. Export value per head of fed slaughter averaged $265.55 in May, matching the average from a year ago. Through May, per-head export value averaged $270.27, up 8 percent. Beef export prices are also increasing, especially in key Asian markets, with double-digit increases in Japan and Korea in May illustrating the strong demand for U.S. beef.

May was a particularly strong month for variety meat exports, with pork variety meat volume climbing 16 percent to 47,766 mt (a record high for May), and value up 33 percent to $102.7 million. Beef variety meat exports reached 2017 highs in both volume (30,173 mt, up 12 percent) and value ($77.7 million, up 10 percent).

“2017 is shaping up as a very solid year for U.S. pork and beef exports, but we remain in an extremely competitive situation in each of our key markets,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. “That’s why it is so important to capitalize on every opportunity to increase carcass value, and this is where variety meat plays an important role. USMEF has been working with our industry partners to expand the range of variety meat product offerings and diversify their destinations, and those efforts are paying important dividends for producers.”

Perdue Authorizes Emergency CRP Haying in Drought Region

The United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) sent a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) consider authorizing the emergency haying of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands in the drought-stricken regions of Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. USDA immediately responded with the authorization, and included up to 150 miles beyond the D2 region.

USCA President Kenny Graner from Mandan, North Dakota noted that emergency grazing is still not immediately available to many producers in these regions due to fencing and watering needs. “Making use of these vital grounds while there is still relative feed value left is crucial to keeping herds solvent through the coming winter,” Graner added.

USCA Secretary Whitney Klasna from Lambert, Montana noted that in many places, the upland bird population that nests on CRP lands have already left their nests and are on the move, and are more than capable of moving safely out of the way of haying equipment. “We have already moved our cows onto pastures that we typically reserve for late summer and early fall grazing. Our stock dams are drying up and we will have a well driller out this week to drill a new well for stock water. The forecast shows no relief, with temperatures hovering near 100 degrees. The extended forecast shows no chance of moisture, meaning we are only one lightning strike away from a big disaster, and what hay we do have left is burning up on our CRP lands” Klasna commented.