December red meat production down sharply

U.S. red meat production dropped in December.

The USDA says the total of 4.47 billion pounds fell 7% on the year, with processing impacted in some parts of the Midwest by winter weather delaying livestock transportation and keeping some plant personnel from getting to work.

Beef came out at 2.225 billion pounds, a decrease of 6% from December 2021 with the slaughter 6% lower at 2.683 million head and the average live weight six pounds lighter at 1,385 pounds.

The December 2022 dairy cow slaughter was 266,300 head, up 15,400 from November, but down 1,500 from December 2021. The preliminary 2022 total was 3,047,300 head, 59,100 less than 2021.

Pork production was reported at 2.23 billion pounds, a decline of 7%, with the slaughter down 7% to 10.298 million head and the average live weight holding steady at 237 pounds.

Veal and lamb and mutton production were record monthly lows.

The preliminary total for U.S. red meat production in 2022 was 55.47 billion pounds, 1% less than 2021.

The USDA’s final 2022 red meat totals are out in April.

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