2020 average prices for Choice Steers are forecast at $106.80/cwt., marking the second year of declines. Despite lower farm gate prices for commodity beef, prices for beef marketed to local consumers have generally held steady, amidst strong consumer demand.
Seasonal cycles continue to affect slaughter availability in the region, with capacity constraints affecting some Northeast producers.
Disruptions to meatpacking facilities related to COVID-19 has had the unusual effect of increasing retail prices for meats, while at the same time, reducing prices received by farmers in some cases. This has resulted in strong margins for packers, but lower prices for producers. Pork has been most affected, less so for other meats. These disruptions were most acute in April/May, and have since subsided, but meat packers continue to struggle with keeping workers healthy and operating at full capacity.
Eggs are trending significantly higher in 2020. Prices surged in the first quarter but have backed off slightly since. The 2020 season average is forecast at $1.22/doz, compared to $0.94 last year.
Pork exports have substantially increased due to rising demand from China. Beef and broiler exports are also higher, but to a lesser extent. Turkey exports are forecast lower.
An Early Season Check-in for Northeast Fruit and Vegetables Markets: The impacts of COVID-19 and beyond