December 18, 2002 | By: Haven Miller
LOUISVILLE, Ky.

Kentucky’s livestock producers have reason for optimism as they head into 2003. 

“The year 2002 was pretty rough for some sectors of the meat producing industry, but the coming year is going to be an improvement,” said Lee Meyer, Extension livestock marketing specialist in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.  “We saw near record domestic supplies of meat this past year, but we’re going to see substantial reductions in both beef and pork and that’s going to set us up for a better overall year.”

Meyer’s comments came during a news conference held in conjunction with the Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation meeting held recently in Louisville.

Livestock producers began 2002 with prices near the profitable levels of 2001, but as the year progressed meat supplies increased dramatically. To make matters worse, a Russian poultry embargo diverted poultry back to the domestic market.  As a result, hog prices dropped by 30 percent, and broiler and cattle prices decreased by 10 percent.

Meyer projects hog prices to average in the low $40s per hundred weight in 2003.

“Because of higher feed costs and lower prices we’re going to cut back on hog production in 2003 and so the stage is set for less pork on the market,” Meyer said.  “What I also find encouraging are the local initiatives taking place around the state in terms of local processing, and those will help revitalize our pork industry.”

For poultry, which is now the number two agricultural cash commodity in Kentucky, he projects supply stabilization and increasing demand.

“Poultry prices should be back up in 2003 to where they were a couple of years ago,” Meyer said.

Lower numbers of cattle next year likely will mean less beef and higher prices.

“With too many cattle in 2002, feedlots lost a lot of money and we saw feeder cattle prices down $5 to $10 per hundred weight,” Meyer said.  “This upcoming year we’ve already set the stage for a smaller amount of beef.  Kentucky feeder cattle will recover on the strength of the slaughter cattle market and lower U.S. supplies of feeders.”

Meyer said slaughter cattle sellers can expect prices to increase $4 to $10 per cwt. higher in 2003.

“A reason we may see cattle industry expansion in Kentucky is the good job we’re doing making changes in marketing and the new alliances we’re building, such as the Five State Beef Initiative,” he said.  “Programs like those funded through the Ag Development Board are reflective of a more progressive cattle industry in the state, one that is going to expand and take advantage of the improved price situation for 2003.”

Contact: 

Lee Meyer, 859-257-7272, ext. 228