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Record large February beef, pork production

February 2024 beef and pork production was the largest on record for any February.

The USDA says the total of 4.554 billion pounds was up 7% on the year, with slaughter above year ago levels, helped by the additional business day thanks to the Leap Year.

That did include year-to-year increases for heifer and sow slaughter, in addition to steers and barrows and gilts, while the cow slaughter was slower than last year. Average cattle weights were above the year before, while hogs were a little bit lighter.

The USDA says the February 2024 dairy cow slaughter of 252,700 head was up 2,500 from January, but down 13,800 from February 2023. So far in 2024, the dairy cow slaughter is 503,000 head, 31,400 less than this time last year.

For the year to date, commercial U.S. red meat production is 9.322 billion pounds, 3% ahead of 2023.

The USDA’s updated annual meat production projections are out April 11th.

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