Red meat production declines, even with higher pork total

U.S. red meat production during July 2023 was down 2% from July 2022.

The USDA says that total of 4.129 billion pounds followed a 6% drop in beef production to 2.109 billion pounds, which canceled out a 2% rise in pork at 2.007 billion pounds, with both influenced by slaughter rates and the availability of ready numbers. The cattle slaughter was 2.6 million head, while the hog slaughter was 9.616 million head.

Average live weights were higher for cattle, lower for hogs at 1,344 and 281 pounds, respectively.

That beef total included lower than a year ago cow slaughter, which might be a sign some producers are rebuilding their herds after an extended period of liquidation. The monthly cow slaughter was 504,400 head, bringing the 2023 total to date to 3,858,900 head. The dairy cow slaughter was 244,200 head, a decrease of 11,500 on the month but an increase of 14,100 on the year, with the year to date total at 1,863,100 head, 112,400 head of the year ago pace.

The USDA says veal and lamb and mutton production were record monthly lows.

The USDA’s next round of meat production estimates is out September 12th.