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Beef, pork production tumbles from a year ago

WASHINGTON, D.C. – September beef and pork production were significantly lower than last year, according to USDA.

The beef total fell because of tighter market ready supplies, while the decline in pork production was down due a drop in average weights, along with a slightly slower slaughter rate. While both cow and heifer slaughter rates have slowed, it’s important to remember the size of the US cattle herd continues to shrink.

Beef production was 2.149 billion pounds with a slaughter of 2.61 million head, both down 10%, while the average live weight was 1,362 pounds 2 lighter. Pork totaled 2.186 billion pounds, 3% lower, with a slaughter of 10.487 million head, a decrease of 2%, and an average live weight of 281 pounds, 4 lighter. The September total of 4.349 billion pounds was 2% less than last year.

The September dairy cow slaughter was 240,500 head, down 34,700 from August and 20,000 from September 2022. The year-to-date slaughter is 2,378,800 head, 101,500 head of last year’s pace.

Veal and lamb and mutton production were record monthly lows, with a big drop in the calf slaughter and sharply lower sheep weights.

Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.35 billion pounds in September, down 7 percent from the 4.66 billion pounds produced in September 2022.

Beef production, at 2.15 billion pounds, was 10 percent below the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.61 million head, down 10 percent from September 2022. The average live weight was down 2 pounds from the previous year, at 1,362 pounds.

Veal production totaled 3.6 million pounds, 15 percent below September a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 21,700 head, down 31 percent from September 2022. The average live weight was up 50 pounds from last year, at 287 pounds.

Pork production totaled 2.19 billion pounds, down 3 percent from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 10.5 million head, down 2 percent from September 2022. The average live weight was down 4 pounds from the previous year, at 281 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production, at 10.2 million pounds, was down 6 percent from September 2022. Sheep slaughter totaled 173,800 head, 1 percent above last year. The average live weight was 116 pounds, down 9 pounds from September a year ago.

January to September 2023 commercial red meat production was 40.4 billion pounds, down 2 percent from 2022.

Accumulated beef production was down 5 percent from last year, veal was down 12 percent, pork was up slightly from last year, and lamb and mutton production was down 3 percent

For the first three quarters of 2023, U.S. red meat production is 40.436 billion pounds, 2% slower than 2022.

The USDA’s updated annual red meat production estimates are out November 9th.


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