Meat & Livestock News

Modest Uptick in US Swine and Cattle Imports for H1 2023, ERS Data Indicates

During the initial six months of 2023, the United States observed a slight growth in the importation of swine and cattle, according to the most recent statistics from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS). 

These figures are part of the Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook report for September 2023, which provides valuable insights into the livestock sector’s current trends.

Examination of Swine Imports

The data reveals that the United States imported close to 3.3 million head of swine in this period, representing a marginal increase of nearly 1% compared to the previous year’s corresponding period. 

Most of these imports were young pigs intended to finish within the United States. Upon reaching the requisite weight, these pigs are then processed domestically. 

It’s worth noting that the imports designated for finishing declined by 2% year on year, yet they were 8% above the five-year average. This increase has its roots in 2021, influenced by the closure of processing plants and the escalating costs of pig rearing in Canada.

Insights into Cattle Imports

Similarly, cattle imports experienced a notable rise, amounting to 953,000 head—an 11% increment compared to the same timeframe in 2022. This increase is likely spurred by the United States’ limited domestic cattle supplies and higher prices. 

A more detailed analysis of the past five years indicates that approximately 75% of these imports were feeder cattle, 25% were for immediate slaughter, and a negligible percentage, less than 1%, were for breeding. 

Specifically, during the first half of 2023, about 687,000 head were feeder cattle, with the majority, 88%, originating from Mexico. 

These feeder cattle imports saw a year-on-year growth of more than 19%, remaining below the average for 2018–2022.

Projections in Beef and Pork Sectors

Regarding future market trends, the commercial beef sector’s outlook for 2023 and 2024 appears relatively stable. Beef imports are projected to experience a rise in the latter half of 2023 and into 2024, while exports are anticipated to wane due to diminished demand from Asia. 

Conversely, the pork sector is set to witness a minor reduction in production, counterbalanced by higher slaughter numbers in August. Nevertheless, pork exports are expected to ascend 7.2% in 2023, totalling 6.8 billion pounds.

By furnishing a thorough overview of livestock import trends and market forecasts, the ERS report is an invaluable asset for stakeholders within the agricultural sector.