US Red Meat Production Up 7.8 per cent

US - In the weekly Actual Slaughter data released by USDA-AMS (data are compiled by USDA-NASS) US Federally Inspected (FI) beef production for the week ending October 22 was 505.0 million pounds and pork totaled 532.6 million, writes Steiner Consulting Group.
calendar icon 8 November 2016
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Total red meat (beef, pork, veal and lamb) tonnage was 1041.7 million pounds. US beef output had slipped for three consecutive weeks, while both pork and total red meat production were record large for the latest week of actual data.

Increases in US red meat output have been large. For the latest data (week ending on October 22), red meat production was up 7.8 per cent or 75 million pounds from a year ago. That increase was about evenly split between beef and pork; beef was up 7.5 per cent (35.4 million pounds) while pork jumped 8.1 per cent (39.7 million pounds) compared to a year earlier.

Over the last six weeks of data, weekly average FI beef production was 27.1 million pounds above 2015’s and for the same weeks the pork average increase was 25.4 million pounds. Those are large increases for what are essentially perishable products. Prices of meat, cattle, and hogs have been pressured as market channels have been challenged to absorb those year-over-year jumps in output.

The components of the surge in beef and pork production are worth noting. Compared to a year ago, all of the increase in both beef and pork has come from more animals being harvested, weights have been well below a year ago consistently for steers and slightly below 2015’s for barrows and gilts.

This year’s surge in cattle slaughter and beef production is largely behind the market, still by levels of recent year’s tonnage will remain high. We likely have more weeks of huge pork production and additional record levels are expected. Still, the year-over-year percentage increases in pork production may moderate at times.

On a quarterly basis, in the final three months of 2016 US commercial beef production is projected by the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) at just over 6.3 billion pounds, the largest for the quarter since 2013’s.

Fourth quarter pork output is expected to be about 6.7 billion pounds, the largest quarterly tonnage ever (note last quarter is always the largest of the calendar year).

Total red meat production (commercial basis) will be over 13 billion pounds for the first time ever in 2016’s fourth quarter. However, and importantly, the US has approached that level in the past, specifically in 2010 and in 2012 -- we have nearly been here before. Looking ahead to 2017 and 2018, LMIC forecasts call for more year-over -year increases in US red meat production.

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