Commercial red meat production during August 2023 was 4.673 billion pounds, a decline of 3% from the August 2022 record monthly high. That was due to tighter market ready numbers for cattle and lower average live weights for hogs.

The USDA says beef production was 2.363 billion pounds, a drop of 6% on the year, with a 6% decrease for the slaughter rate to 2.89 million head against a three-pound gain in the average live weight to 1,351 pounds.

That smaller monthly cattle slaughter rate did include mostly lower than a year ago cow and heifer totals – the exception was dairy cows. The August dairy cow slaughter was 275,500 head, a jump of 31,300 on the month and 9,400 on the year. The year-to-date dairy cow slaughter total is 2,138,700 head, 121,900 faster than the year ago pace.

Pork production was 2.295 billion pounds, slightly lower than last year with a 1% rise in the slaughter to 11.123 million head canceled out by a four pound loss for the average live weight at 278 pounds.

For the year to date, U.S. commercial red meat production is 36.086 billion pounds, 2% behind 2022.

The USDA’s next round of 2023 red meat production projections is out October 12th.