USDA has reduced its estimate of total U.S. meat production for 2010 due to lower pork and turkey production more than offsetting higher broiler production.

In its March World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, USDA left beef production relatively unchanged as higher first-quarter steer and heifer slaughter is expected to be offset by lower carcass weights. Winter weather has stressed cattle in many parts of the country which is reflected in lighter carcass weights.

Estimated pork production was lowered as slaughter in the first and second quarters were reduced and weights during the first quarter have been lighter than expected.

USDA will release its Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report on March 26, which will provide an indication of producer responses to moderating feed prices and improved hog prices.

USDA also reports that relatively weak turkey prices in 2009 reduced incentives to expand production and hatchery data continues to point to lower production in 2010. Broiler production is forecast higher as hatchery and slaughter data point to larger production in the first quarter.

Export forecasts are unchanged from last month for the major meats. Although the recent resolution of pork sanitary issues will permit exports to Russia, exports to that market will be limited by import quotas.

Cattle, hog, and poultry price forecasts are raised for 2010 as tighter meat supplies are forecast this month.