2018 U.S. commercial beef production is forecasted to total 27.43 billion pounds according to the most recent USDA estimates (full USDA report available HERE). This would be the largest annual total on record as it would beat the current record-holding year 2002 by about 350 million pounds. This would be a 4.8 percent increase over the 2017 total and a 15.8 percent increase over the 20-year low point observed during 2015.
The 2019 forecast is even larger at 27.87 billion pounds. This would be a relatively modest 1.6 percent increase over the 2018 forecast. However, the forecast for 2019 would cap off the largest 4-year increase in beef production since the mid-1970s. A 2019 total of 27.87 billion pounds would be 4.2 billion pounds or 17.6 percent above 2015 levels. For comparison, beef production also grew by over 4 billion pounds and over 17 percent during the 1990s herd expansion. But, it took 10 years to accomplish the feat during that expansion.