September beef, pork production under a year ago

The USDA says September beef and pork production were significantly lower than last year.

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.

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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